Dental plaque is the nemesis of your mouth. Plaque is the buildup of food particles and bacteria between your teeth, along your gum line and coating your teeth. If you were to go just 48 hours without brushing your teeth, that plaque hardens into tartar which can only be removed by scraping it off during a dental exam. The consequences of not taking care of your teeth get worse and worse, eventually leading to tooth loss and increasing your risk of infection exponentially.
Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and seeing Dr. Hatland for bi-annual teeth cleanings and dental exams can ensure a healthy mouth.
How Plaque Works After You Eat a Meal
When you eat a meal, leftover food particles can get stuck in tiny crevices in your mouth and mix with your saliva, producing bacteria. If you don’t brush after you eat, a sticky substance will cover your teeth (plaque) until you have a chance to clean your teeth. Bacteria grows exponentially, so it’s no surprise that this buildup causes cavities, tooth decay and irritation to your gum tissues after continued exposure.
The sticky plaque can be removed the next time you brush and floss, but should you forget, it starts to harden into tartar within two days. Tartar can turn the color of your teeth from pearly white to yellow and cause bad breath until it’s scraped away at your next teeth cleaning. Typically, plaque hardens into tartar within two days of forming, and then it becomes nearly impossible to remove on your own without a dental hygienist.
The longer you fail to brush your teeth, the worse this problem will become. You’ll feel the gritty film across your teeth and see the tartar deposits. As time goes on, your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection rises, leading to tooth loss.
Facts About Plaque Buildup
Plaque can easily be swept away with a toothbrush if you brush for the recommended two minutes and use floss to break up the debris between your teeth. However, according to the organization Fight Gum Disease, more than 80 percent of adults in the United States have periodontal (gum) disease caused by plaque. Pregnant women have a higher risk of tooth decay and plaque, which is made worse by nausea and vomiting that often comes with pregnancy.
The University of Rochester Medical Center found that drinking cranberry juice could reduce plaque by up to 50 percent, and the University of Tohoku in Japan found that drinking a cup of green tea each day lowered the risk of associated tooth loss by 20 percent.
Schedule Your Teeth Cleaning and Dental Exam
While we’re all guilty of forgetting to brush once or twice, daily brushing and flossing need to be part of your everyday routine for a healthy mouth and body. Request your dental exam with Dr. Raymond Hatland today to ensure your oral health.
You can reach our Chicago office by calling (773) 338-4440 or our Indianapolis office by calling (317) 257-0794.