Illustration of a special dental tool removing plaque and tartar from around a row of teeth

What Causes Plaque?

April 21, 2023 10:47 pm

During your routine dental cleanings, your dental hygienist uses special tools to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gumline. After your cleaning, they will likely tell you about areas of your mouth to focus on when brushing and flossing based on how much plaque and tartar buildup you had there.

The Formation of Plaque

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can eventually lead to cavities and gum disease if not regularly removed. Tartar is hardened plaque. Because tartar is more difficult to remove than plaque, you’ll need a dental professional’s help to scrape it off.

Bacteria isn’t always a bad thing. Your gut has a massive ecosystem of bacteria that does various things like help you digest food and communicate with other cells. There’s also good bacteria in your mouth that help break down food and fight off infection. There’s some bacteria, however, that create harmful acids when they feed on the sugar from the carbohydrates and sweets you eat. This mixture of bacteria, acid, food, and saliva results in plaque.

Plaque accumulates if you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth. This is because the sugar in your food is just what the bacteria likes to eat.

Why Plaque Is Bad

Sometimes plaque is colorless and sometimes it has a yellow tint to it. But a yellow appearance to your smile is just one negative aspect of plaque. A bigger issue is that plaque increases your risk of cavities and gum disease. This is because the acids produced by plaque erode your tooth enamel and irritate your gums.

Schedule Your Routine Cleaning & Checkup!

If you need some help tackling the plaque on your teeth, contact Lynn Lane Family Dentistry. Our team provides professional dental cleanings as part of our comprehensive dental services in Broken Arrow, OK.


Contact Us

Image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Categorised in: