Dental Plaque: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Your mouth contains millions of bacteria which work day in and day out. These bacteria can prove to be both useful and harmful for your teeth depending on how well you take care of your Oral Health.

The constant growth of bacteria in your mouth forms a sticky and colorless film on your teeth and gumline. This layer is formed when the bacteria present in your mouth interact with the food we eat.
The sugar present in the food particles release acids which when interacts with the bacteria form a sticky film on the teeth. It is important to remove this sticky layer from the gumline and teeth because if not then it will turn into the formation of harder substance on your teeth called tartar.

Formation of tartar can prove to be harmful and will then lead to the formation of cavities and gum diseases. And we are well aware that ignoring these issues for long will lead to serious oral health concerns.

The questions that next arise is how to know whether we have a plaque?

The symptoms are pretty simple. If you touch your teeth via your tongue and get a fuzzy feel then ah-ah it’s the dental plaque. If it turns to be more advanced, then it will be clearly visible in the form of yellowness or grayish coating on your teeth.  

Apart from these visible symptoms, there is cavity growth, swollen gum, gum infection and in extreme cases even tooth loss. The reason for cavity formation is the constant acid attack present in the food and the involvement of bacteria in the same.

So, okay we now know how we get plaque accumulation but what will be the consequences of not dealing with it on time?

As discussed above leaving it unattended for long can lead to serious oral health concerns. The process of the same is as below:

Because the very first contact of plaque is with the enamel of the teeth, therefore, it will with time wear down the enamel which will cause decay. Ignoring it for long also cause gum infection and are a reason for gum disease medically known as gingivitis.

The other consequences associated with dental plaque is that it damages the roots of the tooth. This is because the plaque gets accumulated under the gums and destroys the bone which supports the tooth.  This loosens the tooth making it fall eventually.

Not only does it have an effect on Oral Health but also the overall health. The bacteria of the plaque if enter the bloodstream can harm other body organs such as the heart, lungs etc.
Only a visit to your dentist can solve this issue. Your dentist will first examine the tooth and if the plaque is at tartar stage only then will your dentist perform the treatment such as scaling & root planning.

Scaling is the removal of plaque or other substances that are present or stuck on your teeth. Root planning, on the other hand, is the more advanced version of scaling & polishing. This prevents the formation of tartar and if it is already built then will remove the tartar from your teeth making it smooth.

Prevention is better than cure.

A line heard more often than applied. But in case of plaque accumulation there are certain preventive measures which should surely be adopted in order to avoid concerns attached:

  •  Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure that you use a soft bristle toothbrush and change your toothbrush after every 2-3 months

·       Floss every day. Flossing helps to get rid of the particles stuck between the teeth which are the main reason for plaque accumulation

·       Use an alcohol-free mouthwash for rinsing

·       Make sure that you rinse after every meal so that no food particle get stuck on the teeth

·       Prevent the spread of bacteria by lowering down the sugar content in your food

·       Eat a well-balanced diet. This makes your teeth healthy

·       If possible chew sugar-free gums which will not allow the particles to get stuck on the teeth

·       In addition to the pointers mentioned above make sure you visit your dentist twice a year and get your dental health checked regularly

Look for dental hygienist options to know more about the preventive options for the said treatment. A visit to the dentist will help you to know the exact condition of your mouth.

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