The Long-Term Effects of Plaque Build Up
Plaque is characterized by a thin, sticky coating that resides on top of tooth enamel. While regular brushing can remove plaque and help minimize its build up, if left untreated, plaque can begin to collect and harden into tartar. Plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which are common dental complaints.
Minor plaque build ups can be successfully controlled with regular brushing with a good toothpaste and rinsing with a mouthwash that has been developed especially to remove and inhibit plaque build up. Plaque occurs as a by-product of the way in which bacteria in the mouth interacts with food debris, forming acids which coat and erode the tooth enamel. Plaque can never be totally removed from the mouth, but it can be controlled.
However, when left untreated, the plaque can begin to harden and spread underneath the gum tissue into a substance called tartar. This is often characterized by orange staining around the edges of the teeth and gum tissue line.
While regular brushing can remove plaque and help minimize its build up, if left untreated, plaque can begin to collect and harden into tartar.
Tartar is a much more difficult substance to remove; like plaque, it is highly acidic but normal brushing and flossing can’t remove tartar, and so proper and professional cleaning is often required by a dentist, or other dental professional, such as a dental hygienist.
Using special tools, the dentist or dental hygienist can clean away plaque and tartar from beneath the gum tissue. This is an important and effective treatment against their effects, and can help to keep oral health in a good state.
The consequences of leaving plaque and tartar untreated include tooth decay, which damages and erodes the tooth’s enamel, leading to cavities and eventual tooth loss.
In more serious instances, gum disease can form, which can cause gum tissue to peel away from the tooth’s roots, exposing the roots to bacteria which can cause extreme sensitivity and increase the likelihood of infection. This can also increase the chances of tooth loss, as well as loss of gum tissue and jawbone matter due to recession of those tissues.
Regular brushing and flossing, coupled with regular dental checkups are the first line of defense when it comes to treating and controlling plaque. By maintaining good dental health programs, the effects of plaque build up can be minimized; if left to build up, however, plaque build up can lead to serious dental health issues later.