Saint Louis Dentist Answer Your Questions About Harmful Oral Plaque

Written by Dr. Grayem on Sep 2, 2014

Avoiding long-term dental problems necessitates comprehensive and diligent dental care. This is because a substance called plaque—which is filled with oral bacteria—never stops accumulating on your smile. You have to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine so that plaque does not take over!

If you don’t quite know what plaque is, or how it can harm your smile, this explanation from our Saint Louis dentist office will help you get the information you need.

Q: What is plaque?
A: Plaque is a sticky substance that coats a patient’s oral tissues and teeth, compounding throughout the day. Plaque is home to oral bacteria. The oral bacteria in plaque feed and multiply when they are able to feed on sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks.

Q: What happens if I don’t do anything to get rid of plaque?

A: When you allow plaque to sit uninterrupted in your mouth, the bacteria in plaque produce acids. These acids wear away at dental enamel and weaken healthy oral tissues. Over time this will lead to cavities as well as gum disease.

It is also important to know that plaque, when left undistributed, calcifies onto dental enamel. In this stage the plaque turns into a substance called tartar (calculus). Once plaque has calcified it is very difficult to remove—you will need a professional dental cleaning in order to give your smile a clean slate.

Q: How do I know if I have plaque on my teeth?

A: Plaque is invisible, but it is always there! Follow your dentist-recommended dental hygiene plan no matter how much plaque you may think is on your smile.

If you have further questions about oral plaque and tartar, our Saint Louis dentist office would be happy to provide you with the information that you need. Give us a call to get started!