Maintaining optimal oral hygiene in Griffin, Georgia, goes beyond the quest for a bright smile; it is fundamental to the overall health of your teeth and gums. However, a stealthy opponent that we all face is plaque. This seemingly harmless film of bacteria can wreak havoc on your oral health when left unchecked. This makes good oral hygiene and regularly scheduled appointments with a dentist like Dr. Mark Martindale and the team at Martindale Family Dentistry for a cleaning and examination essential to get rid of plaque on teeth.
Let’s look into the menacing nature of plaque and the damage it can wreak on your teeth and gums.
Plaque is a soft, sticky film comprising bacteria, saliva, and food particles. It forms on the teeth throughout the day, and while it may seem harmless initially, the real peril lies in its ability to transform into a hardened substance called tartar. This transformation occurs when plaque is not adequately removed through regular brushing and flossing. The repercussions of plaque buildup on teeth and gums are many.
The primary threat plaque poses is tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that erode the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth. As time progresses, the resulting acid attack weakens your enamel, leading to cavities and, when left untreated, more severe dental issues. As plaque persists, it also triggers inflammation of the gums, a condition known as gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the precursor to more advanced gum diseases like periodontitis (gum disease), irritating the gums, causing redness, swelling, and bleeding. If not addressed promptly, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, where the infection reaches the supporting structures of the teeth, including the bone. This can result in gum recession, tooth mobility, and even tooth loss.
Beyond tooth decay and gum diseases, plaque also contributes to the formation of dental calculus or tartar. Tartar is a hard, mineralized deposit that cannot be removed through regular brushing alone. Its rough surface provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, compounding the oral health issues caused by plaque.
Preventing the damage that plaque can inflict on teeth and gums requires a diligent oral care routine. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing to reach areas between teeth, and routine dental check-ups for professional cleanings are essential for effective plaque control. Maintaining a balanced diet low in sugary and acidic foods further aids in keeping plaque at bay.