What is plaque and why is it bad?

What is plaque and why is it bad?

What is plaque and why is it bad?

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on the surface of teeth. It develops when bacteria in the mouth interact with sugars and starches from food, producing acids that can damage tooth enamel and lead to dental problems.

Plaque is bad for several reasons:

Tooth decay: The acids produced by bacteria in plaque can erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities (dental caries). If left untreated, cavities can deepen and reach the inner layers of the tooth, causing pain and potentially leading to infections.

Gum disease: Plaque buildup along the gumline can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. If not addressed, gingivitis can progress to more severe gum disease (periodontitis), which can cause gum recession, tooth loss, and damage to the underlying bone.

Bad breath: Plaque contains bacteria that produce foul-smelling gases as they break down food particles and other substances in the mouth, contributing to bad breath (halitosis).

Tartar formation: If plaque is not removed through proper oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar (dental calculus), a hard, yellowish deposit that forms on teeth and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Tartar buildup can further contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.

Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are important for removing plaque and maintaining good oral hygiene.