What Is Plaque?

posted in: General Dentistry | 0

Dental plaque develops inside every mouth, so it can’t be that bad can it? Actually, plaque is the most damaging substance inside your mouth – so it requires a great deal of attention in order to prevent oral health problems. If you run your tongue over your teeth and feel a “fuzzy” film on them, then you know that plaque is present inside your mouth and you need to do something about it!

dental checkup

Dental plaque is a microbial biofilm that can be found on all surfaces of the teeth. It is most commonly found on the pre-molars, molars, and the backs of the front teeth. There are natural bacteria that are present inside the mouth, and these bacteria have a chemical reaction to the foods and beverages that you consume. The bacteria inside the mouth are most attracted to the sugars and carbohydrates that are contained in the foods you eat, and they will congregate in large numbers around these types of particles that are left behind in the mouth. As these bacteria collect together, they begin producing acids. This entire chemical change is the formation of plaque on the teeth. 

Dental plaque is not something simple that can be ignored. Dental plaque must be viewed as dangerous because of the threat it poses to the health of the entire mouth. The acids within dental plaque do not die or go away once the plaque hardens into tartar on the teeth. The acids remain and begin eating their way through the tooth enamel. This is exactly what occurs during the formation of cavities. Plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth will continue to develop and affect all areas of the mouth. Plaque that develops on the teeth will eventually cause cavities; plaque that develops at the gum line will eventually cause gingivitis; gingivitis that is not treated will cause irreversible periodontal disease; and plaque that reaches to the roots of the teeth below the infected gum line will break down the supporting bone and cause tooth loss. 

Plaque is a dangerous substance inside the mouth, and it will never go away. Plaque can be controlled, but it takes consistency and good habits. Flossing and brushing the teeth at least twice a day are your only defense against the assault of plaque. Floss is the only tool designed to remove plaque from the gum line and the tight spaces between the teeth, while a toothbrush helps to loosen plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. It requires the determination to help your mouth stay healthy in order for it to do so.


At Riverheart Family Dentistry, we want to partner with you in achieving optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.