What’s Plaque and How Does It Affect Our Oral Health?

As June comes to an end, our oral health awareness should not go dismissed. We still want to take measures to care for our teeth. Our oral health is a critical part of our daily life. We use our mouth and teeth to speak and digest our food. Without our teeth, those two actions become challenging to do and can begin to alter the shape of our mouth. But before you start to think tooth loss happens immediately, it takes time to develop and is often the result of poor hygiene.

When we fail to brush twice a day and floss daily, we begin to develop plaque on our teeth. We want to practice good oral hygiene to avoid plaque build-up, which can affect our teeth. So, what is plaque?


Plaque is a soft, sticky, colorless substance that forms on our teeth and along the gumline. It is home to bacteria causing tooth decay. The bacteria found in plaque interacts with our foods daily producing acids which attack our tooth’s enamel, if it happens repeatedly, can lead to a cavity.

Oral Health Concerns

Brushing twice a day and flossing will help remove the plaque from your teeth and gum line. However, if we neglect to care for our teeth and gums, we run the risk of having plaque build-up turn into tartar.

Tartar is a plaque that has hardened along the gum line, making it difficult to remove without a dental visit. But if tartar and plaque continue to build-up, your gum tissue will begin to enter the first stage of periodontitis, also known as gingivitis.

Gingivitis is the first and only reversible stage of periodontitis. It causes our gum tissue to become red, swollen, and can even cause us to bleed when we brush or floss. With proper oral hygiene and dental treatment, we can reverse the effects of gingivitis and prevent severe progression of gum disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into a more severe stage where the gum tissue recedes and attacks the root of the tooth.  

Caring For Our Teeth

Practicing good oral hygiene and taking measures to ensure our teeth remain healthy can be beneficial to our overall health. After all, we need healthy teeth to break down our food and to speak. There are a couple of ways we can prevent plaque build-up, and here are some of the ways:

  • Brush twice a day with a soft bristle tooth and fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily (preferably before bedtime)
  • Regular dental visits
  • A balanced diet, limit the intake of sugary and starchy foods and snacks

If you are a night time snacker, you want to make sure you brush and floss before heading to bed since our saliva production slowdowns during our sleep. It leaves our teeth vulnerable to bacteria causing tooth decay.

We want to continue to be active in our oral health by practicing good oral hygiene and going to the dentist for annual visits. If you have not seen your dentist for your yearly check-up, call us at 801-747-8000 or submit an appointment request to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

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