Does Plaque Cause Tooth Decay?

Monrovia DentistOur mouths are home to billions of bacteria. Some of them are good and do things like fight bad breath. But others of them are bad. This harmful bacteria quickly forms a thin layer of plaque on your teeth called plaque. In this blog post we want to look at whether or not this plaque can actually cause tooth decay and cavities that need to be filled by a dentist. Monrovia patients that are suffering from a painful cavity should make sure to call Dr. Q today at (626) 599-9819. Even if you just need a simple cleaning, we would love to help you prevent minor cavities from becoming more costly and painful problems.

What is Plaque?

Before we explore how plaque damages your teeth, let’s first look at what it is and how it interacts with your tooth structure. Plaque is a biofilm that is made up of millions of bacteria covering your teeth like a blanket. Plaque forms very quickly. Almost immediately after you brush your teeth or eat the bacteria in your mouth will start to coat your teeth again.

If left on your teeth, the plaque will eventually harden and turn into something called tartar. Tartar is so hard that it cannot be removed with a toothbrush or even floss. It has to be scraped away with special tools by your dentist. Monrovia patients that allow plaque to turn into tartar can cause big problems for their oral health. Tartar can cause gum disease and even receding gums.

How Plaque Damages Your Teeth

The bad bacteria in your mouth that comprise the layers of plaque feed on leftover food that gets stuck to your teeth. As the bacteria eat, they produce a powerful acid as a byproduct. When your teeth are covered in plaque, there’s more bacteria and, thus, more of this acid produced.

Now, let’s talk about your teeth. Teeth are protected by an outer layer of enamel. It is a super-hard substance that shields your teeth from bacteria and gives them strength for chewing.

However, the acid that the bacteria produce will eventually wear away the enamel. When that happens, the soft inside of your teeth (called dentin) is exposed. The bacteria will then start to eat away at this soft layer. When this happens it is called a cavity.

But when you wait to get your cavities treated, something even worse happens. The bacteria will just continue to eat away and produce more acid which will allow them to burrow into the very center of your tooth called the pulp. An infection in this area will require a root canal to fix.

Why Choose Dr. Q For Your Dentist

Monrovia patients often avoid going to the dentist because they’re afraid to find out if they have cavities or not. Many of our other patients have anxiety about going to the dentist. But with Dr. Q, our patients get gentle, kind, and compassionate care every single time they visit us. That’s exactly why Dr. Q has become one of the most “in demand” dentists over the last decade. We also offer a sedation dentistry to help ensure the comfort of our patients from start to finish. Whether you need dental implants, Invisalign, or a pediatric dentist, Monrovia patients should call us today at (626) 599-9819.