What is dental plaque and how do we avoid it?

You have probably heard people talking about plaque and maybe you have some idea of what it is. But it is useful to know a bit more about it so that you can do what is necessary to minimize the risks. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums.

When you have eaten a meal or snack, and have not followed this with basic hygiene care through effective daily brushing and cleaning between the teeth. The bacteria in plaque release acids that attack tooth enamel. If you don’t remove the plaque, it can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. When this happens regularly, the enamel can weaken and eventually leads to tooth decay.

Another effect of plaque is that it also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red and tender or causing them to bleed easily. One method to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, make sure you have a balanced diet and avoid having too many snacks between meals. When you feel like a snack, go for foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese or a piece of fruit.

Consequently, eating the right food plays an important role in developing healthy teeth and gums. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to fight infection and this can contribute to gum disease. Although poor nutrition does not cause gum disease directly, the disease may progress faster and could be more severe in people with diets which are low in nutrients.

Some steps you can take to make sure what you eat does not harm your teeth include maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, limit the number of between-meal snacks; when you must snack, choose nutritious foods that are low in sugar, and keep a food diary for a week recording every item you eat and drink.

Another reason for increased plaque presence or poor gum health could be poor cleaning habits or the inability to clean thoroughly. There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush. This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems. There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.

Some simple ‘home remedies’ include using a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand, enlarging the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip, winding an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle, lengthening the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor, tie floss into a loop for easier handling, Using an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder.

If you or a family member is suffering from issues involving plaque buildup, bleeding gums, or poor hygiene we will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips on oral care and maintenance. Please contact a compassionate employee of Ocala Dental Care (352) 877-2117.