Daily brushing and flossing help you maintain good dental hygiene. You probably grew up hearing about this from your family and dentist. You may still be lectured on the importance of dental hygiene, even as an adult. What’s the big deal? Staying diligent about your oral hygiene helps protect you against threats such as tooth decay and gum disease—both of which start with the build-up of plaque. Your Albertville family dentists at Wall Street Dentistry are here to educate you as to the dangers of dental plaque.
Does the thought of tiny organisms growing and spreading on your teeth freak you out?
First, if the answer is yes, that’s probably a good thing. Also, this is literally what dental plaque does in your mouth. Plaque is a biofilm—a sticky coating made of microorganisms that adhere to one another, as well as on surfaces. In the case of dental plaque, the microorganisms are bacteria, and this biofilm adheres to the surfaces of your teeth.
Plaque starts out when two substances already are in your mouth, bacteria and saliva, bind together. Bacteria bind specifically to a layer of saliva known as the dental pellicle, then multiply and populate other parts of the mouth. If left unchecked, the bacteria form microcolonies, which secrete a coating known as the slime layer, and then become larger and more complex.
What happens if dental plaque is not removed?
The only way you can combat the accumulation of this plaque is by brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. If you fail to do so, the plaque feeds on the tiny particles that are left in your mouth whenever you eat and drink, converting the sugars and starches you consume into acids that can erode your tooth enamel—the protective outer layer of your tooth structure. Eventually, dental plaque hardens by absorbing the minerals that occur naturally in your saliva, and the plaque forms into tartar. By this time, the tartar only can be removed through a professional cleaning at your Boaz dental office, where the hygienists have access to special tools specifically made to remove tartar. Even with your best efforts of brushing and flossing, tartar buildup is inevitable for everyone, which is why twice-yearly cleaning appointments are recommended to all individuals.
Plaque—and, eventually, tartar—both can form on the surfaces of your teeth but also can form below the gumline. In this latter location, plaque and tartar eventually can lead to a bacterial infection that causes gum disease. An ailment that has been estimated to affect about half of adults in the U.S., gum disease first can affect your gums by making them more swollen, red, tender, or prone to bleed easily. However, patients with untreated gum disease also eventually deal with tooth loss, deterioration of supporting bone structure, and even face a magnified risk of heart disease as the infected bacteria and plaque in the mouth filter into the bloodstream.
Good dental hygiene is important for everyone
All those people who have told you about the importance of brushing and flossing are right. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush allows you to scrub the bacteria and any forming plaque from your teeth. Make sure to floss as well, as flossing cleans areas your toothbrush cannot reach—such as between teeth or the surfaces on the sides of teeth. If you have any tartar build-up, the only way to remove it is to have a professional dental cleaning in Albertsville from the team of oral health professionals at Wall Street Dentistry. In addition to having all the tartar and plaque completely removed from your teeth, we also can provide instruction on the safest and most effective products for you to use on your teeth at home.
Have you been neglecting your recommended schedule of dental cleanings? There’s no time like the present to get back on track. Schedule your cleaning today by calling the office of Wall Street Dentistry at (256) 878-0525.
Wall Street Dentistry serves patients in the areas of Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, Alabama.