Montefiore Department of Dentistry | The Lowdown on Plaque

By Montefiore Medical Center
February 15, 2017

You know that rough and slimy feeling you have on your teeth first thing in the morning? Not a pleasant thought, but nevertheless, we all have it: plaque. This sticky, clear film forms on and between your teeth and, if not removed regularly, can cause a host of dental problems.

How plaque forms
After you eat, the food and drink that remain on your teeth combine with your mouth’s natural bacteria to create an acid. This acid then mixes with food particles and saliva to become the sticky and hard substance known as plaque.

Problems with plaque
To avoid the advancement of plaque, regular brushing and flossing are crucial; otherwise, acids start to erode tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. What’s more, if plaque develops on the tooth roots under the gum line, the acids can erode the bone that supports the tooth. Unremoved plaque can also cause gum disease (gingivitis), and if plaque remains on the surface of your teeth for several days, it calcifies and becomes a hard substance called tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.

Fighting back against plaque
The first step in the fight against plaque is regular brushing and flossing. For best results, brush twice daily and floss once a day. And when possible, brush after every meal to rid your mouth of lingering food particles. It’s also important to watch what you eat. A balanced diet low in sugar and carbohydrates is an effective way to prevent plaque buildup. And finally, be sure to see your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings.

To schedule your regular checkup with Drs. Kraut, Rogoff, Newsome and Kakanantadilok at the Montefiore Department of Dentistry, contact us online. Our office is located in the Bronx and can be reached at 888-700-6623. We look forward to meeting you!


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