The Long-term Effects of Plaque Buildup

Plaque has the potential to do significant damage to your smile if you allow it to build up over some period of time. Good oral hygiene habits at home in combination with adequate care from an experienced dentist and professional can help to limit plaque buildup and its negative effects.

In order to understand the mechanism by which plaque can harm the teeth, you must first have a good working concept of what plaque itself is. This sticky film contains countless oral bacteria. In turn, when those oral bacteria process their nutritional sources (read: the food debris that remains in your mouth after you eat), they produce a highly acidic byproduct that attacks various tissues in your mouth.

Over time, the plaque can harden into calculus, more commonly known as tartar. You may notice this harder, yellowish substance along your gum line, especially behind the front lower teeth. This substance can’t be removed with conventional brushing and flossing. Only a professional teeth cleaning can eliminate it.

Plaque and tartar buildup have consequences for your oral health. The bacteria found in these substances can cause tooth decay and gum disease, which may mean extra sessions with our dentist to undergo the necessary treatments.

Brushing and flossing can help to reduce plaque build-up to a degree, and these habits are certainly an important first step to keeping your smile as healthy as possible.

Unfortunately, home oral care alone is not sufficient to keep plaque at a minimum. You are limited in what you can accomplish on your own with an average toothbrush and floss. This is why a semi-annual teeth cleaning is an essential component of your oral health plan.

When you get professional cleanings every six months, a dental hygienist can use specialized instruments to remove any residual plaque that is left after the patient brushes and flosses or to get rid of any tartar that has collected on the teeth. The hygienist also can reach areas of the mouth that it might be difficult to reach on your own, such as the molars.

A combination of your home routine and thorough professional care will help to mitigate the effects of plaque and tartar accumulation. Be sure that you’re on a regular schedule for exams and teeth cleanings at our office.

Call us today if you’re due for your next appointment!

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