Plaque and Gingivitis – Two Enemies of Your Oral Health

In your goal of keeping your mouth health, plaque and gingivitis are your two worst enemies. Understanding more about these common dental problems will help you take the right steps towards improving your overall oral health.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky biofilm made up of bacteria that lives on gum tissue, teeth and dental crowns. It constantly forms on the teeth, and is a normal part of your mouth. However, the bacteria in plaque releases acid, and the sticky nature of the plaque keeps those acids in contact with your teeth. This, in turn, can cause a breakdown in the enamel that leads to tooth decay.

In addition, plaque can build up on the teeth and turn into hard tartar. It can also cause gum disease, with gingivitis being the first sign of a problem.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a gum disease commonly associated with plaque buildup. Gingivitis causes tender, swollen gums, and sometimes the gums will bleed. If left untreated, the disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. The bacteria then have access to the bone supporting the teeth, and over time this bone deteriorates to the point that the tooth falls out.
Preventing Plaque and Gingivitis

Plaque is a normal part of your mouth, but plaque buildup is not. To prevent plaque and gingivitis, you need to pay close attention to dental health. Start by ensuring that you are brushing properly, preferably around 20 minutes after each meal using a fluoride toothpaste. Also, floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth.

Then, be careful what you eat. Sugar feeds the bacteria in the plaque, causing it to build up more quickly, while acidic foods lead to greater tooth breakdown. Reduce your sugar intake, and ensure that you either brush or chew sugar-free gum after eating sugary or acidic foods.

Finally, have your teeth cleaned professionally regularly, opting for every six months to ensure that the plaque you can’t address is properly removed. Dr. James J. McCall is happy to help you with keeping your mouth plaque and gingivitis free. Contact him today to schedule your annual cleaning.

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