Plaque is your teeth and gums’ arch enemy. It’s a sticky, invisible film that constantly builds up in our mouths. When this film comes in contact with leftover food particles, it feeds and grows. In short, when we eat, the bugs in our mouth eat, too. Biofilm, as dental professionals refer to it, clings to the teeth and hardens into tartar if not removed by regular brushing and flossing. Although a diet rich in vitamin C helps to inhibit the growth of plaque, even the most committed at-home dental care can’t rid the mouth of all the plaque that leads to tartar.
Plaque and Your Oral Health
If a dental professional doesn’t remove the plaque with a dental cleaning, the hardened bacterial plaque irritates and inflames the gums. The early stage of this infection is called gingivitis. It is characterized by tender, bleeding gums and bad breath. Fortunately, it is reversible with the proper care.
The advanced stage of gum disease is periodontitis. At this point, the gums recede (hence the expression “long in the tooth”) and teeth begin to shift position as they detach themselves from the root and eventually fall out.
Although poor dental hygiene is the main cause of gum disease, some other factors play into it:
- Smoking. Here’s another reason to quit. Smoking significantly increases the risk factor for gum disease. It also lowers the success rate for gum disease treatment.
- Female hormonal changes. Gums can become more sensitive to plaque in young girls and women experiencing hormonal fluctuations.
- Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing a range of infections–including gum disease.
- Medications. Some medications dry out the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. Some medicines cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue, which makes it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean.
- Genetic susceptibility. Some are just more prone to gum disease than others.
Regular visits to our office, along with consistent oral care at home, greatly reduce the threat of gum disease. Working as a team, we will keep your smile at its cleanest and healthiest, as well as loveliest.
Schedule an Appointment
Our dental practice enthusiastically shares our knowledge and skill set with patients to maintain their smiles’ health and vitality. We listen. We care. Dr. Patel looks forward to giving you and others in Lisle, Illinois the gift of a lovely smile. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.