Dental plaque, a sticky biofilm, is the most common culprit for oral problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque affects everyone irrespective of age and gender; it can wreak havoc on your oral health. However, it is essential to get rid of it at the earliest through regular brushing and flossing. Untreated plaque can coexist with bacteria and lead to several adverse complications that can negatively impact your general health as well. 

The dentists practicing general dentistry in Santa Rosa, CA, offer a comprehensive approach towards early detection of plaque and adopt several effective treatments to get rid of it. Keep reading to know more about plaque and its adverse effects on your oral health.

Dental plaque is a sticky biofilm of bacteria that consistently adheres to the tooth surface. Everyone produces plaque, and it is normal. However, it is important to eliminate plaque from your mouth regularly. 

Adverse consequences of dental plaque

Untreated plaque can harden to form tartar or calculus and can further deteriorate your oral health. The consequences are as follows: 

  • Dental decay
  • Root cavities 
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth infection leading to the formation of abscess (pus-filled boil)
  • Gum recession
  • Loose or mobile teeth 
  • Tooth loss 

Plaque contains bacteria, leftover food particles, and saliva. The bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates from the food debris and break it down into a sticky, acidic film called plaque. Technically, plaque is colorless but can cause tooth discoloration. It makes your tongue feel fuzzy. 

Effective procedures to eliminate plaque

Your dentist will evaluate and screen your mouth using instruments like a mouth mirror and dental probe. Your dentist may remove plaque through scaling and root planing procedures. They may also recommend:

Dental sealants

  • To prevent plaque from forming on the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of the teeth

Dry mouth treatments

  • To increase saliva production

Fluoride treatment

  • To slow the growth of plaque-causing bacteria and reduce the risk of tooth decay

Prescription toothpaste and antibacterial mouthwash

  • To reduce infection and inflammation of the gums caused by plaque.

Preventing plaque accumulation

Here is how you can prevent the accumulation of plaque and the onset of oral diseases:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Floss once a day to get rid of plaque in between teeth
  • Scrub and clean your tongue as well
  • Rinse your mouth daily with antiseptic mouthwash
  • Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet
  • Cut back on sugary, starchy junk foods and drinks
  • Get dental checkups and cleanings twice a year

Ensuring your teeth remain free of plaque is important for minimizing the likelihood of oral issues such as cavities, gum disease, and other detrimental conditions.