What is plaque and why is it bad?

Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing.

Plaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. Brushing and flossing become more difficult as tartar collects at the gum line. As the tartar, plaque and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease.

Since plaque is constantly growing in your mouth, the following steps are important for keeping your teeth healthy and strong:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque from tooth surfaces and protect your teeth from decay.
  • Flossing is an essential step in preventing gum disease. Clean between teeth daily using traditional floss or a water flosser to remove plaque from the places where your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Visit our office twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams.