SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Plaque is a biofilm that forms naturally on your teeth. You may know that “fuzzy teeth” feeling from running your tongue along your teeth when you haven’t brushed recently. That fuzzy feeling is plaque.
San Francisco cosmetic dentistry provider, Dr. Greg Larson wants you to know the dangers of plaque buildup. You can manage plaque with routine visits to your dentist in San Francisco and regular oral care habits.
The Effects of Plaque on Your Teeth
Plaque gathers on your teeth and just below the gum line. You can remove the plaque with flossing and brushing, but if you don’t, the plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar is also called dental calculus.
Tartar buildup is especially dangerous, as tartar can infect your gums and cause them to swell and bleed. This infection is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. If you have gingivitis, there’s still hope to restore your gums and teeth to better health. Gingivitis can be reversed with a comprehensive cleaning by your hygienist, combined with a commitment to exceptional at-home oral care. However, if you don’t reverse your gingivitis it can progress to gum disease. The plaque and tartar present on your teeth continue to irritate the gums when you have gum disease. Your gums will pull away from your teeth, and bacteria collect in these pockets. In extreme cases, extensive bone loss will cause your teeth to loosen and even fall out. Dental implants dentists can help you restore teeth lost to gum disease, but it’s better to take care of your original teeth.
Plaque and gum disease can put you at risk for other serious health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and oral cancer.
How to Prevent Plaque Buildup
Commit to daily flossing and twice daily brushing to keep plaque from building up on your teeth. Brush with your toothbrush angled at 45 degrees, and make sure to also brush where your teeth meet your gums. Use a toothpaste and mouth rinse with fluoride and brands that do not contain alcohol. Remember that snacking between meals can leave food particles and sugars on your teeth. Eating soft foods and foods high in sugar and starch can encourage acids and bacteria to stay on your teeth. You may want to floss and brush more than the recommended amount, especially if you snack frequently on sticky foods or soft drinks. Choosing water over sugary soft drinks will benefit your oral and your overall health. Crunchy vegetables such as carrots, apples and celery help clean your teeth by removing debris.
Your teeth are easiest to clean when they’re perfectly aligned. Crowded teeth make it difficult for you to floss properly. Dr. Larson can straighten your teeth with Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. The Invisalign system is much less invasive than traditional braces. You can take the plastic aligners out to eat, floss and brush. This means your teeth gradually shift to their ideal position without hindering your oral health routine. Contact our team to determine if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign treatment.
Ask your dentist if dental sealants would be beneficial in preventing plaque. Sealants smooth the grooves on your premolars and molars to help you remove food and bacteria more easily. Only your healthy teeth can benefit from sealants.
Dr. Larson is also a neuromuscular dentist with experience treating the TMJ and relieving associated pain. He provides pain free dentistry as you like. Contact our office to discuss plaque prevention and , general or neuromuscular dentistry. Regular visits to our hygienists will clean unwanted plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. We can help you set goals to keep plaque buildup at bay, increasing your oral health and improving your smile.
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