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(734) 284-8088
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The Sticky Truth: Why Dental Plaque is Your Smile’s Enemy

Dental plaque teeth cleanings Southgate MI dentistsYou’ve likely heard about dental plaque from a variety of sources, not just our Southgate, MI, dentists. Still, it requires daily oral hygiene and help from our team to keep it at bay and prevent unwanted damage from occurring.

Keep reading to learn how dental plaque can affect your smile and ways you can take action.

What Exactly Is Plaque?

In short, plaque is bacteria buildup. It typically manifests as a soft, sticky film on your teeth largely caused by the combination of saliva, food, and fluids. The bacteria that makes up plaque produces acids every time you eat or drink something. If removed in a timely manner, plaque is manageable. When it’s left untreated, however, not so much.

Aside from forming on your teeth, plaque also likes to collect near the gum line and under the gums on the tooth roots. When the latter happens, your smile is at risk. The best solution is generally to undergo the scaling and root planing procedure. This involves our dentists cleaning above and below the gum line to remove plaque.

Spotting the Signs of Existing Plaque Buildup

The number one way you will be tipped off to plaque on teeth is the feeling. The aforementioned stickiness is hard to ignore and is more likely when you have gone a while without brushing or flossing your teeth. Maybe it’s 5 pm in the evening and you last brushed around 7:30 am. Eating and drinking throughout the day will bring about plaque.

Other signs you have a fair amount of plaque include:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Pale yellow color on teeth
  • Swollen, tender, or red gums that bleed easily (may indicate gum disease)

Though plaque can be a pale yellow as mentioned above, it can also be colorless. Of course, this can make it difficult to see unless you are one of our dentists who have access to small dental mirrors. When in doubt, brush and floss for clean results.

The Impact of Neglecting Plaque

Plaque does not have to stay on your teeth forever. It can and should be removed as soon as you’re able to limit the harmful effects. When plaque does sit around for a while and daily oral hygiene isn’t practiced properly, it turns into tartar which is a more hardened version.

If plaque and tartar are left untreated, they can lead to:

How Squeaky Clean Teeth & Gums Are Possible

Getting rid of plaque is easier when it’s just that, plaque. Once it hardens into tartar, you’ll need the help (and tools) of our hygienists. The main items you need to remove plaque at home include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash.

Our dentists recommend all patients brush their teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily. Following those activities up with a mouthwash is a bonus. In addition to at-home oral care, we also encourage you to receive a professional teeth cleaning every 6 months in our Southgate, MI, dental office.

Practice Oral Care Every Day

It takes some work to keep your smile clean, but you’ve got this! Our dentists serving Southgate, MI, are also here when you’re ready for your next exam and cleaning. Call Northline Dental today at (734) 284-8088 to request an appointment.