What Causes Plaque Buildup?

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky substance that forms on your teeth and builds up over time. If it isn’t removed during regular brushing and flossing, it can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and form into tartar. Today, we want to talk about some of the causes for plaque buildup as well as share some tips for avoiding it.

What Is Dental Plaque?

Dental plaque is a sticky biofilm composed of bacteria and acid. It can appear as colorless or as a pale yellow on the surface of your teeth. If you regularly brush your teeth twice each day for two minutes each time — and floss every day — you can limit the vast majority of plaque buildup as well as the problems it causes. However, poor oral hygiene can allow plaque to flourish and then harden into tartar. Tartar is a tough dental calculus that can only be removed by a professional.

man flossing his teeth to prevent plaque buildup

How Plaque Accumulates

At any given moment, your mouth is chock full of bacteria. Some bacteria are beneficial, but many others are “bad” bacteria that feed on carbohydrates and sugars. As bacteria consume leftover food particles, they produce acid. Without proper oral hygiene, this can buildup into plaque. Plaque can sneak under your gum line and in the hard to reach areas between teeth.

Tips to Prevent Plaque Buildup

At home, you can limit plaque buildup by practicing good oral hygiene, drinking plenty of water, consuming a healthy diet that’s low in sugar and acid, and avoiding tobacco products. Additionally, we recommend that our patients visit us every six months for regular professional cleanings and exams from our expert dentists. This allows our team to remove any plaque and tartar, and to address any early warning signs that plaque buildup is causing further issues.

Schedule Your Next Checkup!

To ask our team any questions about plaque buildup or to schedule your next appointment, contact our office today.

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