What is tooth plaque?
Did you know: everyone has plaque, but 35% say they have never had it! Plaque is an extremely sticky deposit of biofilm that regularly forms on your teeth. It forms shortly after brushing. Eating foods high in sugar like cakes, sweets, and fruit can cause an increase in plaque bacteria. Plaque bacteria can lead to gingivitis, caries and advanced gum disease, so it is important to take steps for treatment and prevention.
What does plaque on teeth look like?
Plaque is colorless to pale yellow. It’s the fuzzy feeling on the surface of your teeth. When plaque is colorless it can be harder to detect, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene and see your dental professional every 6 months for a checkup.
What causes plaque?
When saliva, food, and fluids combine in your mouth they produce the nutrition that allows the bacteria to grow and deposit which collect on teeth and gums and especially where the teeth and gums meet. Common foods that contribute to plaque formation and growth include those containing carbohydrates, or simple sugars, such as sucrose and starches, found in soft drinks and candy.
Why is plaque harmful?
Plaque bacteria produce acids that attack your tooth enamel and if left undisturbed can lead to gingivitis and other oral health issues.
What does plaque have to do with tartar?
Over time, if plaque isn’t removed on a regular basis, minerals from your saliva are deposited into the plaque biofilm causing it to harden within 24 to 72 hours, turning into tartar.
And while you can remove plaque at home, tartar removal requires the help of a dental professional. Learn more about how to get rid of plaque before it becomes tartar.
6 methods for preventing and removing plaque