Plaque and Oral Hygiene
Dr Prithvi Raj K
Sarjapur main road, Bengaluru Feb 12, 2017
Plaque is the sticky, soft, colorless film of bacteria that forms on teeth. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing.
When you eat, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars in your food to produce acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. Repeated attacks cause the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in a cavity in the tooth surface. Plaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. Brushing and flossing become more difficult as tartar collects at the gum line. As the tartar, plaque, and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
How can it be prevented?
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with soft, rounded tip bristled toothbrush.
- Floss between teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease.
- See your dentist or oral hygienist every month for a check-up and teeth cleaning.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of between-meal snacks. Choose nutritious foods such as yogurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables as a snack. Vegetables such as celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralize plaque-causing acids.
- When you finish eating, bacteria rush to the sugar left in your mouth and feed on it. The more sugary your food, the more bacteria there are to deal with when you brush. So, skimp on the sugar and starch.