When you are at your dentists in Sugar Land, Texas and it sounds like the hygienist is “chipping” something off of your teeth- that is plaque. Plaque is the sticky, pale yellow film of bacteria that forms on teeth. According to the American Dental Association it is the main cause of cavities and gum disease, and can harden into tartar if not removed daily.
Plaque develops when foods containing sugars and starches-such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Plaque can also develop on the tooth roots under the gum and cause breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth.
To prevent plaque buildup, WebMD recommends you:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Pay particular attention to the space where the gums and teeth meet and use toothpaste with fluoride. Also, floss between teeth at least once a day to remove food and bacteria.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of between-meal snacks. If you need a snack, choose nutritious foods such as plain yogurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables. Vegetables, such as celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralize plaque-causing acids.
- Ask your dentist if a dental sealant is appropriate for you. Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to protect them from cavities and decay.
- Don’t miss your regular cleanings. It is at a professional cleaning, during scaling that plaque and tartar are removed from the crown and root of the tooth.
You can rely on your dentists in Sugar Land, Texas to tell you if you have dental plaque, but you can also take the do-it-yourself route. Disclosing tablets, swabs and solution are plaque-revealing products that can be used at home. These products temporarily stain dental plaque so that you can see where it is and how much there is on your teeth. However, it is still recommended to have plaque professionally removed.