Considered a type of biofilm, dental plaque develops when bacteria tries to colonize themselves on a person’s tooth.
Oddly, this could be the result of a defense mechanism to help prevent microorganisms from infiltrating more sensitive areas of the body.
However, if the plaque is allowed to multiply, the tooth starts to degrade.
How Your Mouth Generates Plaque
The human mouth is a unique infrastructure. It contains components that cannot shed their surfaces… teeth. As a result, your teeth are capable of holding a great deal of germs.
In fact, dental plaque itself contains 1,000 bacteria. For this reason, dental plaque is considered the human body’s most diverse form of biofilm.
Its ability to hold so many germs is quite amazing, especially considering how small human teeth are.
The human mouth is considered a microbiome. The reason why is because a person’s oral cavity has the ability to house several different environments at any given time.
These environments vary based on the tooth affected.
In addition, experts believe that the numbers of microorganisms inside the human mouth is approximately 25,000 different bacterial species.
Previously, the estimate was only 700. Studies also show that of the 25,000 species in the human mouth, approximately 1,000 of them are capable of existing as their own ecosystem.
This goes against previous studies, which assumed that only 500 species could become biofilms.
The 1,000 species that go against the odds are able to change based on their environment. Biotic relationships are used to initiate these changes.
From Plaque To Tartar
In its beginning stages, dental plaque can be removed pretty easily. Even your finger nails can do the job. However, as the substance begin hardening, it becomes more difficult to remove.
It takes 10 days for plaque to become tartar. At this stage, only a dentist can remove the biofilm.
The presence of dental plaque improves one chances of suffering cavities, or tooth decay. This is due to the localized destruction of all the surrounding tissues.
Acid is the culprit in all of this. It is produced from the sugars that break down during bacterial degradation. If this is not taken care of, patients may suffer from more serious problems like gingivitis or peridontitis.
How to Remove Dental Plaque
Treatment at Home
You need to brush your teeth twice each day. The toothpaste you use should contain fluoride. By doing this, you kill the bacteria that cause plaque to develop in the first place.
Also, if there is a soft layer of plaque, you will be able to remove it before it progresses to tartar. If you develop healthy brushing habits, you will prevent plaque and preserve the enamel on your teeth.
Floss And Clean
You should also use floss to clean your teeth. If you feel uncomfortable flossing, there are interdental devices you can use to get food from in between your teeth.
Just make sure you do it thoroughly, as brushing alone does not eliminate dental plaque. But if you floss, you remove the food particles that cause the biofilm in the first place.
Third, you need to rinse with mouthwash or consume tables that fight dental plaque. Both products contain a special dye that reveals the plaque on your teeth.
This makes it easier knowing where to brush.
Finally you need to eat a healthy diet. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, but limit your consumption of sugary and processed food.
Not only will you reduce your dental plaque, but you will also achieve better health overall.
Getting Dental Treatment
When plaque accumulates, it hardens and turns into tartar. This yellowish substance is impossible to remove without dental equipment.
As such, you should schedule a dental appointment at least once a year to ensure this substance is removed. Even if your teeth are healthy, you might still have tartar lurking in some areas.
Also, during a dental checkup, the dentist will check to see if you have developed gum disease. If they catch it in its early stages, you will avoid losing your teeth.
Use Of Sealants
Dentists can also apply sealants in hopes of preventing plaque buildup altogether. These are invisible coatings which protect your teeth from dental plaque.
For many patients they are a godsend, since it can be hard trying to remove plaque from brushing or flossing alone. If a tooth is misshapen or in a hard to reach location, you might not be able to reach it with conventional brushing or flossing.
But if the tooth contains a sealant, it will be protected against plaque.