Dental Care 101: What Is Plaque?

By Steven Kail on May 07, 2016

A tooth affected by plaque and tartar buildupHere at Premier Dental Center, we take great pride in helping the people of Jackson have healthy and beautiful smiles. This means a commitment to advanced general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry to improve dental wellness.

Even though we offer state-of-the-art care, we also acknowledge that the basics are always essential, which is why we are so proud to offer treatments for plaque and tartar. Let's take a moment to consider what plaque is and why it has to be taken seriously.

Oral Bacteria and Dental Plaque

Oral bacteria regularly resides in the mouth. This oral bacteria is responsible for bad breath as well as tooth decay and gum disease. The oral bacteria loves to feed on food particles between the teeth and on the teeth, so plaque is formed in order the for the oral bacteria to remain in place.

Plaque is sticky and clear. It can form on the tooth surface itself and even lodge itself below the gumline in some cases.

The Dangers of Dental Plaque

If plaque remains on the teeth and is not cleaned off, it can lead to tooth decay. This decay weakens the tooth structure and creates a recess in which food particles, bacteria, and plaque can all become lodged, perpetuating the cycle of decay.

Tooth decay can form below the gumline, and it can even breach the various layers of the tooth, resulting in a root canal infection. This means that the oral bacteria infects the dental pulp within the tooth, which can be very painful.

Plaque Can Harden Into Tartar (Dental Calculus)

In addition to contributing to tooth decay, dental plaque that is not cleaned off can harden into a substance known as tartar attaches to the enamel layer of your tooth and is much more difficult to remove than plaque. The presence of tartar makes tooth decay more likely and also makes it more difficult to remove new plaque that forms.

Regular Brushing and Flossing Is Crucial

In order to remove plaque buildup and ensure the healthiest smile possible, it's important that patients brush and floss regularly every day. You should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a night. The best practice and the ideal way to avoid cavities is to brush and floss after every meal.

Root Planing and Scaling for Tartar (Dental Calculus)

If tartar builds up, professional treatment is needed to scrape it away. This process is known as root planing and scaling, which is also referred to as deep cleaning. Root scaling refers to the removal of the rough tartar buildup, while root planing refers to the smoothing down of tooth structure that has been rendered jagged or uneven by tartar and tooth decay.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

The best way to ensure good dental health for the years ahead is to visit your dentist regularly for checkups. This allows minor cavities and problems with plaque and tartar to be addressed as soon as possible rather than allowing them to progress and become more difficult to deal with.

Contact Premier Dental Center

For more information about dental plaque and how it impacts your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our team of experienced dentists today. The team at Premier Dental Center is here to help you have the best smile possible.

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