Tooth decay and gum disease begin from the formation of dental plaque. If you want to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of plaque, it’s essential to know how it forms. In this post, we will share how dental plaque forms and how it affects your overall health.
What is dental plaque, and how does it form?
Dental plaque is the sticky invisible film of bacteria and starch from food that forms around your teeth. It starts to build up whenever you eat starchy and sugary foods and stays in the nooks and crannies between your teeth and gums.
With proper brushing and flossing, you can remove the plaque buildup on your teeth. It only takes 4 to 12 hours before dental plaque hardens and becomes tartar. Once it becomes tartar, it can be hard to remove by brushing alone. Tartar requires a dental professional to remove it from your teeth.
The bacteria in plaque or tartar releases acids that break down the tooth enamel. With poor dental hygiene, these disease-causing bacteria will continue to damage the tooth and cause tooth decay. In a worst-case scenario, the bacteria can infiltrate the gums and cause infection and gum disease.
The link of dental plaque to chronic diseases
The bacteria that causes tooth decay is also one of the clusters of bacteria that causes chronic diseases like heart disease. When a patient has gum disease, the bacteria in plaque can travel through the bloodstream and contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
Poor oral health also increases your risk for stroke. Based on a study in Tampere University Hospital in Finland, the bacteria from dental plaque are found in the brain of 84% of stroke patients. The chronic inflammation associated with gum disease impairs the immune response of your body. Therefore, making you more susceptible to other diseases.
How to prevent dental plaque
Your oral health impacts your overall health. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you are also taking care of your whole body. Here are some tips to prevent the formation of plaque:
- Limit your sugar intake and prefer a healthy diet consists of foods that are high in fiber.
- Brush and floss at least two times a week. You may also gargle mouthwash in between meals to lessen the number of bacteria in your mouth,
- Hydrate often to avoid dry mouth. Saliva flushes away food debris and protects the surfaces of your teeth from disease-causing bacteria.
- Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning and oral exam twice a year.
As a trusted dentist in Florissant, our Soft Touch Dental team always reminds our patients that gum disease is an irreversible disease that leads to a more serious health condition down the road.
If you have a sweet tooth or experience dry mouth from time to time, you are more susceptible to develop dental plaque. You must double up your oral hygiene and visit your dentist more frequently.
By having teeth cleaning twice a year, you’re not only saving yourself from dental conditions but also keeping yourself away from developing medical conditions. Call us now and let us help you keep yourself healthy.