What Causes Plaque On Your Teeth And How To Avoid It

Plaque is one of those things that you hear about but may not understand. Knowing more about the things that can cause a breakdown of your dental health is important. Read on to learn more about dental plaque and how to avoid it.

Blame it on Bacteria

It's impossible to keep bacteria from your mouth. Bacteria are produced from the foods you eat and almost everything you drink. People with a healthy immune system and who take good care of their teeth can withstand having a few bacteria swimming around occasionally. For many, however, bacteria will invade your gums and cause your teeth to decay. First, though, it will create plaque.

Plaque is Caused by Bacteria

Even people who take good care of their teeth can suffer from the sticky build-up of plaque. The problem is that plaque can form quickly and is not easy to remove once it begins to cling to your teeth. Plaque can be blamed for:

  • Cracks in teeth that gradually cause the tooth to become unstable and break apart.
  • Loosened teeth that develop spaces between them where cavities can form. They can also pull away from the gums leaving space for bacteria to enter and cause more damage.
  • Gums that become soft and weak. That can create problems when you floss or eat certain foods because you may be more prone to tiny cuts on the gums.  Unfortunately, once bacteria enter the gums, abscesses may form. 
  • Bone damage. If left untreated, plaque can break down the bone structure of your jawbone. A weakened jawbone will result in a droopy lower facial area.

Fight the Ravages of Plaque

Despite the dire outlook, you are far from powerless against plaque. Dental science has been hard at work finding ways to rid your mouth of plaque. Here are some tips to avoid the sticky buildup of plaque:

  1. The tried and true still works. Brush your teeth after you eat and especially before you go to bed. Bacteria left in the mouth overnight can do a great deal of damage.
  2. It can be difficult to judge how hard or how long to brush your teeth. You can simplify that issue by using an electric toothbrush. The brush works perfectly, and many have a timer to ensure you are doing a thorough job.
  3. Water flossers provide a superior way to get at the trapped food and bacteria between your teeth. This type of flosser won't lead to tiny cuts in the gums that invite bacteria.

Talk to a family dentist for more tips.