Dental plaque is a biofilm, usually a pale yellow that develops naturally on the teeth. Like any biofilm, dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria . . . It has been speculated that plaque forms part of the defense systems of the host by helping to prevent colonization of microorganisms that may be pathogenic.
It is not a huge leap to compare plaque to the Great Wall of China. The building of plaque never ceases and the Great Wall took centuries to build and it’s still not complete. The Great Wall was built to keep attackers out while at the same time keeping people in. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space; if you have a lot of plaque build-up, it can be seen pretty easily, too.
If we heed only Wikipedia’s definition above, one might wonder what is so bad about plaque. The above definition is only a partial one and there are many more resources available online or at your local dental office that will point out the drawbacks of plaque. While building up its defenses the same material that protects erodes the enamel of the teeth. Of course the erosion does not take place over night. And, neither will the “take down.”
Like the Great Wall, plaque is very formidable. Both will never be totally deconstructed however, the Great Wall is maintained and cleaned for its millions of visitors. Plaque helps protect against billions of visitors, too (microorganisms). However, if you do not keep the plaque at bay (it occurs naturally, and can not be cleaned 100% away) it will destroy your teeth.
So, get into see your dentist, help them help you control plaque. Ask your dentist if the recommended twice-yearly cleaning is all you need, or, if there are other issues to deal with like periodontal disease or gingivitis. Remember your dentist is the expert and they love helping people get the oral care they should have; it’s what they do!
Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Tooth Decay To Be A Thing Of The Past? Enzyme Responsible For Dental Plaque Sticking To Teeth Deciphered