What is Plaque?

What exactly is plaque? According to Wikipedia, plaque is: a biofilm or mass of bacteria that grows on surfaces of the mouth. 

When plaque is not properly or promptly removed from the teeth, it can harden to become tartar. Most people have heard the word tartar, but in the dental community this substance is commonly called calculus. The hardened form of plaque, or tartar, can be problematic for the health of the gum tissue and remainder of the body. Without proper removal of tartar, this can lead to more serious concerns such as periodontal disease. 

Periodontitis is an infection of the gum tissue which leads to destruction of the jawbone. There are more than 3 million US cases of periodontal disease diagnosed each year. This is a very large number considering periodontal disease can be considered a preventable disease. Although there are many risk factors that contribute to gum disease, removal of plaque and tartar on a routine basis is very beneficial to reducing the risk of inflammation. 

For some fun, you can use food coloring of choice and mix with 2oz of water. Make a solution and swish, spit and see what stains! The soft plaque that lies on your teeth will stain, brush and it will be removed. This is a great way to see what areas are being missed with home care. 

~Piney Creek Family Dentistry Team