In order to properly care for your smile, it is imperative that you take active steps to manage plaque build-up in your mouth While plaque will inevitably develop in your daily life, there are steps you can take to minimize plaque’s effect on your oral health as a whole. Keep reading to learn more from our Orland Park dentists!
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, bacteria-laden film that develops throughout the day and night on your smile. Plaque is natural byproduct of eating, drinking, and speaking; there is no way to completely halt plaque production! Because plaque contains bacteria and sugars, it can lead to significant dental damage if it is allowed to sit undisturbed on your teeth and gums.
What does plaque do?
Plaque, if left undisturbed, will cover all of the available areas of your smile. The bacteria that live in plaque will feed on the sugars and refined carbohydrates that you consume. Consequently, the bacteria in plaque release acids and weaken dental enamel and gum tissue. Plaque leads to cavity development and gum disease. Another unique characteristic of plaque is that, if it is left unaddressed, it hardens and calcifies to the dental surface. Calcified plaque is called tartar, and it requires a professional dental cleaning to remove.
How do I keep plaque to a minimum?
One of the best things that you can do to protect your smile from plaque is to keep up with your dentist-recommended routine of brushing and flossing. Remember, plaque is developing continuously, so you can’t skip on at-home cleaning. It’s also important to stay up to date with semi-annual professional cleanings, as this is when our dental team is able to clear away compounded tartar.
Additionally, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as this ramps up saliva production. You can also get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with water after eating to minimize the amount of time that harmful bacteria are able to feed on sugars and carbohydrates.
Now that you know what to look out for when it comes to plaque, we hope that you’re able to take proactive steps to protect your smile from plaque-related damage.
As always, our Tinley Park dentists are here to give you any additional information you need, so give us a call to get started!