If teeth are not cleaned regularly, the bacteria present in our mouth and from food particles forms a thin film on our teeth; commonly known as plaque. Regular visits to the dentist can help keep your teeth looking sparkling and healthy. In fact, without cleaning, plaque can get build-up quickly leading to inflamed and infected gums; which often results in a lot of pain and expensive treatments. If plaque is not removed at the right time, it will lead to tooth decay so, unless you want your teeth to be extracted; it is worth taking preventive measures.
Firstly, What Is Dental Plaque and How Can Sierra Madre Patients Prevent It?
Plaque is a soft, clear deposit that is formed on the surface of our teeth and only becomes visible when it becomes stained by things we eat, drink and smoke. Plaque contains a lot of germs and bacteria which aid in tartar build-up. With regular brushing and flossing, you can minimize the risk of plaque formation.
What Causes Dental Plaque in Sierra Madre Patients?
Interestingly, plaque is quite common in young Sierra Madre patients with seven out of ten suffering from a build-up of plaque. Here are some of the most common causes of dental plaque and poor oral hygiene:
- Poor oral hygiene
- High consumption of sugary items
- Low immune system
Note – While there is not much you can do if the plaque build-up is due to a weak immune system; plaque can be removed by practicing good oral hygiene and by giving up smoking.
Why Is Removing Plaque Important?
Plaque is a sticky deposit which attacks gums and teeth when it combines with the acids present in saliva, food, and fluids. It consists of millions of bacteria and germs which feed on the food we eat and drink every day. If these bacteria deposits from plaque are not removed, it can lead to tooth decay, tartar build-up, and severe gum infections.
1. Plaque leads to Tartar- If plaque is not removed within 24-72 hours, the minerals from your saliva are deposited onto the plaque film causing it to harden. This hardened form of plaque is known as tartar which cannot be cleaned at home and requires the help of a Sierra Madre dentist, Dr. Q. Your risk for developing tartar increases if you wear braces, have crowded teeth, smoke or have a dry mouth. It usually builds up faster with age.
2. Cavities & Bad Breath- Sierra Madre dentist often don’t notice cavities until the problem becomes severe. Decaying of teeth is caused by bacteria attacking and breaking down the enamel on them. If the mouth is not cleaned after a meal, food residue starts to build-up on the teeth, gums, and tongue; providing an opportunity for bacteria to grow.
The most common kind of bacteria is called Streptococcus mutans which thrives on sugary foods. This bacterium breaks down the food to begin the process of digestion which results in the release of acids. These acids are harmful to the teeth and work with bacteria present in plaque to damage the enamel and gums.
As the tooth begins to decay, treatment requires visiting your local dentist to have the cavities repaired/filled. Only the decayed part of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling material. The filling material helps to restore the tooth to its proper shape.
Even a tiny amount of tooth decay is known to cause bad breath which can be quite embarrassing. If tooth decay is not treated and gets worse with time, it reaches the pulp of the tooth. The damaged pulp of the tooth can cause severe pain and requires root canal treatment which is costly and may lead to tooth loss.
3. Gingivitis- It is a periodontal condition which marks the beginning of a serious condition; gum disease. If plaque build-up is not removed from the teeth it can quickly accumulate along the gumline and bacteria from plaque can irritate and infect the gum tissues. This results in gingivitis, however, improving your oral hygiene is enough to reverse this condition. If left untreated, tartar gets build-up around the supportive tissues of your mouth causing loosened or lost teeth.
As you can see, it is imperative to keep plaque under control by practicing regular brushing and flossing in between meals to maintain good oral hygiene. There is an abundance of tooth products to choose from, and some may be more effective than others. That is why it is essential to visit Sierra Madre dentist, Dr. Q so she can plan a customized dental regime according to your needs. She will also provide guidance on which food/drinks to avoid and which dental products to use.
Regular consultations with your dentist are the key to avoid painful and costly dental treatments so call us today at (626) 599-9819.