Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that collects on all the surfaces of your teeth, particularly in between them, and on the surfaces close to your gums. This dental plaque is the cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
When you eat or drink sugar and sugary products, the bacteria that live in the plaque produce acids that dissolve the minerals in your teeth and create holes or cavities. These acids begin to dissolve your tooth enamel within 20 minutes of eating. These cavities are usually painless, until they grow quite large inside the tooth which could eventually result in a tooth abscess if not treated.
Plaque is also a contributing factor to gum disease. It causes an inflammatory reaction in the gum when it collects around the necks of teeth. The gum then swells creating a gap between the tooth and gum. This gap is more difficult to clean effectively, so more plaque builds up in the area and below the gum line.
Keeping the teeth and gums clean can control the problems caused by plaque build up. This is best done by regularly brushing using toothpaste containing fluoride and flossing. At Aura Dental, we encourage everyone to brush their teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes and floss once a day. You can also visit our hygienist to get a thorough clean of you teeth and hard to clean areas. The use of mouthwashes containing fluoride will also provide extra protection against tooth and root decay.
Dental plaque is quite difficult to see, but we have special tablets available that when chewed will colour the plaque to make it more visible.