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Plaque 101: What You Need To Know About Plaque

Plaque is a sticky substance that naturally builds up on your teeth. It is usually colourless but can become more yellow if left on the teeth for a period of time. Plaque is a combination of bacteria, sugar and saliva, which if left on the surface of your teeth can have detrimental effects on your oral health.

If plaque if left on your teeth for even just 48 hours, it can turn into tartar which is a thick substance that is very difficult to remove from teeth at home. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist with specialist equipment and can be unsightly.

Signs Of Plaque Build-Up

After brushing, it only takes a few hours for plaque to start building up again. It is natural for plaque to form on your teeth throughout the day, however, it shouldn’t be left to build up. If you notice that your teeth don’t feel as clean and are less smooth, oftentimes described as feeling ‘fuzzy’, you should brush your teeth immediately to prevent tartar formation.

The Dangers Of Plaque Build-Up

As a main component of plaque is sugars from the food you have eaten, the sugar immediately starts to eat away at the enamel on your teeth. This constant attack from sugar causes cavities and tooth decay. The sugars also irritate the gums and make them bleed, eventually causing gum disease if not brushed away and treated. Gum disease can cause catastrophic damage to your gums and cause tooth loss, so it is important that you take care of your teeth and gums every day.

Preventing Plaque Build-Up

The best way to prevent plaque build-up is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine by:

· Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day

· Floss at least once a day

· Swill with an antiseptic mouthwash if your gums feel tender

· Visit the dentist every six months

For more advice on maintaining your oral hygiene, read our other articles.

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