Though most people are familiar with the terms “plaque and tartar,” not everyone realizes why their dentist is so adamant about keeping them under control. Even if you know that you should brush and floss your teeth every day, you might not realize the consequences of skipping a routine once in a while.
The truth is that, though a seemingly minor issue, plaque is one of the biggest and most consistent threats to your oral health. When not properly controlled, it can lead to serious dental problems and the need for extensive dental treatment.
What Is Plaque Made Of?
At any given moment, thousands of different oral bacteria inhabit your mouth. It’s an uncomfortable thought, but fortunately, most of these microbes are harmless. However, when bacteria interact with saliva and food particles, they form a colorless biofilm known as plaque, which coats the surfaces of your teeth.
The few harmful types of bacteria can multiply along with the rest from the protection of plaque, eventually attacking your teeth and gum tissues. In time, excessive plaque can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease), chronic bad breath (known as halitosis), and more.
What Happens to Left-Behind Plaque?
Oral bacteria naturally inhabit your mouth, so plaque is a constant presence in your mouth. The good news is that by brushing your teeth twice every day and flossing at least once, you can prevent excessive plaque buildup and the risks of dental health issues. Yet when you miss a spot of plaque, or skip brushing and flossing altogether, the film will calcify into tartar, which you cannot remove with your toothbrush and floss.
Only professional dental cleanings at your dentist’s office can remove tartar and its threat, and you should schedule an appointment at least once every six months for optimal results.
Plaque and tartar may seem like minor issues, but they’re the most common threats to the health and beauty of your smile. To learn more, schedule a visit today by calling our dental office in Sunnyvale, CA at (408) 720-0900.