What Is Plaque?

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria which constantly forms on teeth. It is a major cause of gum disease and tooth decay and can harden into tartar if not removed daily.

How Do I Know if I Have Plaque?

Everyone develops plaque as bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths. Sugars in our diet combine with bacteria found in plaque to produce plaque acids. Plaque acids attack the enamel surface and frequent acid attacks lead to tooth decay.

Plaque which is not removed can also irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), periodontal disease and even tooth loss.

How Can I Prevent Plaque Buildup?

Plaque build up can be reduced with effective home care

  • Brush thoroughly at least twice a day to remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth
  • Use floss  or interdental toothbrushes daily to remove plaque from in between your teeth and under your gum line, where your toothbrush may not reach
  • Reduce the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks
  • Toothbrushing with a gum health toothpaste such as Colgate® Total® will also help to reduce dental plaque build up in between toothbrushing
  • Visit your dental professional on a regular basis

Once plaque has hardened to form tartar only your dental professional can remove it. The process of removing tartar is called scaling. Your dental professional uses special instruments to remove tartar from your teeth above and below the gum line.

During scaling, plaque and tartar are removed from the crown and root of the tooth.