What is plaque? Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. It is the main cause of cavities and gum disease, and can harden into tartar if not removed daily. What exactly is plaque? A sticky, colourless, film of bacteria and sugar. That’s plaque. It forms on our teeth constantly, and is the main contributor to the development of cavities and gum disease. If it’s not removed daily, it can harden into tartar. How do I know if I have plaque? You shouldn’t be too alarmed, everyone develops plaque. Bacteria are forever forming in our mouths which means that plaque is constantly building. So you don’t get to determine whether or not you have it, you just do. Unless you just finished brushing your teeth. Bacteria use the many different bits and bobs in our diets mixed with our saliva to make plaque. This plaque contains acid, which then attack the teeth. Repeated attacks cause enamel to break down, leaving a cavity. Too much plaque and too little removing it, can lead to gingivitis by irritating your gums, which can then lead to red, bleeding and swollen gums and let’s not forget to mention the periodontal disease and tooth loss that comes with it. Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths. These bacteria use ingredients found in our diet and saliva to grow. Plaque causes cavities when the acids from plaque attack teeth after eating. With repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel can break down and a cavity may form. Plaque that is not removed can also irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), periodontal disease and tooth loss. How do I prevent plaque build-up? Getting rid of plaque is simple, you just need to make sure that you’re doing it often enough. Brush thoroughly at least twice a day to get rid of any plaque around your teeth. Floss at least once a day to get rid of whatever’s left in between your teeth. Don’t give the bacteria too much to snack on, limit your sugary and starchy foods. Schedule regular dental visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations. Is it time for your next cleaning to remove plaque build up? The team at North Shore Dental Group will be happy to help you!