Think of dental plaque as building blocks - just like the ones you played with as a kid. Start with yellow blocks as bacteria. The red blocks represent dead skin cells. The white ones signify white blood cells. Add some blue blocks to represent calcium and then mix in green ones to represent phosphorous.
Now stack all of these together and what do you get? Dental plaque.
If you don't use floss and a toothbrush on a daily basis, plaque removal gets more difficult. Plaque cures like cement, eventually hardening to tartar and calculus, which requires professional tools for dental plaque removal.
Dental Plaque = Disease
So what does dental plaque do? Bacteria eat, every time you eat. And they especially love starchy, sugary foods. They digest, and then produce wastes - creating more building blocks requiring plaque removal. The waste material generates infections, calling more white blood cells to the building site to fight off the invasion. And as the white cells die, you add more plaque building materials.
Some of these dental plaque bacteria by the way, are the very same culprits that cause bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis and cavities. Untreated cavities generated by plaque lead to tooth abscess, tooth loss and spreading infections in your jaws, head and neck. Periodontitis, an advanced gum disease, may trigger tooth loss, coronary diseases, strokes, low birth weight babies, respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and diabetic flare ups.
Plaque Removal = Better Health
Recent research from Indiana University at Purdue indicates that race and gender play roles in how plaque affects heart health. The study incorporated 128 men and women of both Black and Caucasian descent - all of whom were asked to relax oral hygiene routines. Results suggested that Black men in the group had elevated white blood cell counts, perhaps an exaggerated bodily response to oral infection. Though this may sound good on the surface, the reality is that increased white blood cells are known risk factors for heart attacks.
And since dead white blood cells make up some of dental plaque's building blocks, it might just be best for all of us to limit how much plaque we harbor in our mouths. Don't provide a foundation for more dental plaque.
Plaque Control = Good Hygiene Habits
Plaque forms 20 minutes after eating, according to Medline Plus. That's why dentists recommend you brush teeth 2-3 times per day and floss once daily for plaque removal. (Don't over-brush though, or you may damage your gums.) The flossing helps remove dental plaque formation between the teeth and below the gum line.
Dental cleanings twice per year gets rid of the plaque that hardened into calculus. Your hygienist might perform root planing or scaling for plaque removal below the gum line. And your dentist will stop cavities and serious oral infections.
If you're interested in dental plaque removal to improve your oral health and overall health, see your dental hygienist to evaluate your brushing and flossing technique and get regular cleanings. See your dentist regularly to detect and stop cavities.
If you don't have a dentist to help control your plaque, call us: 1-866-970-0441. We're here 24/7 to find a great dentist near you.