Dental Plaque Ottawa
Dental Plaque: Understanding and Prevention in Ottawa
Exploring Dental Plaque
Dental plaque is more than just a nuisance—it's a breeding ground for harmful germs that reside in the mouth and adhere to the teeth. This invisible yet problematic biofilm can lead to various oral health issues, including tooth decay and gum disease.
- Some types of plaque contribute to tooth decay.
- Other types of plaque are responsible for gum disease.
Initially, dental plaque appears as a sticky, colorless deposit, but over time, it can transform into tartar, often taking on a brown or pale yellow hue. You can find it in various areas of your mouth, including between teeth, on the front and back surfaces, along the gumline, and even below the gumline near the cervical margins. Dental plaque also goes by other names like microbial plaque, oral biofilm, dental biofilm, dental plaque biofilm, or bacterial plaque biofilm.
The accumulation and progression of dental plaque can lead to conditions such as tooth decay (localized damage to tooth tissues due to acid produced by bacterial sugar fermentation) and periodontal problems like gingivitis and periodontitis. Therefore, it's crucial to disrupt and remove this mass of bacteria to maintain optimal oral health. Effective plaque control and removal involve proper daily tooth brushing and the use of interdental aids like dental floss and interdental brushes.
Oral hygiene plays a pivotal role because dental biofilms can turn acidic, causing demineralization of teeth (commonly known as dental caries) or harden into dental calculus (also referred to as tartar). Dental calculus cannot be eliminated through regular brushing or interdental aids; it requires professional cleaning by a dental practitioner.
Early signs of gum disease may include redness, puffiness, or bleeding gums. Without proper treatment, gum disease can progress, leading to the deterioration of tissues that support teeth and eventual tooth loss.
Identifying and Managing Dental Plaque
Dental plaque can be challenging to detect without proper staining. You can make it visible by using red "disclosing tablets" readily available at grocery and drug stores. Alternatively, you can apply green food coloring to your teeth using a cotton swab. The red or green color residue on your teeth will reveal areas with remaining plaque, indicating where additional brushing is required for removal.
Dental plaque, typically clear in color, forms a biofilm on teeth. Failure to remove it regularly can lead to dental cavities (caries) and periodontal issues like gingivitis. The microorganisms that constitute this biofilm are primarily bacteria, including streptococcus mutans and anaerobes, with their composition varying depending on their location in the mouth. Some anaerobes, such as fusobacterium and Actinobacteria, may also be present.
While these microorganisms are naturally found in the oral cavity and are usually harmless, the failure to remove plaque allows them to accumulate and form a thick layer. When these microorganisms become anaerobic, they start producing acids, leading to demineralization of nearby tooth surfaces and the development of dental caries. Plaque buildup can also mineralize and transform into calculus or tartar.
Your Partner in Oral Health
At Bank Street Dentistry in Ottawa, we are your dedicated partners in achieving and maintaining excellent oral health. Our experienced team, led by Dr. Nasrin Saba, is committed to providing you with the knowledge, guidance, and treatments necessary to prevent dental plaque-related issues and ensure a healthy smile for life.
If you have concerns about dental plaque or its effects on your oral health, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Schedule an appointment by calling 613-241-1010, and visit our conveniently located office at 1189 Bank Street in Ottawa, ON. Let's work together to preserve your oral health and enhance your smile's vitality.