What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film containing bacteria that constantly builds up on the teeth and gum line. Plaque contains bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. As plaque builds up, if it is not removed by brushing and flossing, it can harden and turn into tartar, sometimes called plaque, which is calcified (or hardened) plaque that can affect both tooth enamel and areas below the gum line.
Everyone can develop plaque due to the constant growth of bacteria in the mouth, and this can be difficult to see. Not removing plaque from areas around the gum line can lead to inflammation and irritation of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth, and subsequently to the development of gingivitis (redness, swelling, bleeding of the gums). If left untreated, gingivitis can progress and possibly lead to tooth loss. Unlike plaque, tartar is a mineral formation that is easy to see if it is located above the gum line. The most common sign of calculus formation is yellow or brown deposits between the front teeth of the lower jaw or on the gum line. Tartar can only be completely removed with a professional dental cleaning procedure performed by an oral hygiene specialist.
Reasons we get plaque on our teeth
- Most of the foods and drinks we consume remain in the mouth for a long time after we finish eating. The overgrowth of bacteria that live in the mouth can be stimulated by a variety of foods, especially those that contain sugars and carbohydrates, and the bacteria release acid that eats away the tooth enamel.
- If you don’t brush and floss on a daily basis, more plaque builds up in your mouth and the tartar starts to form up. Tartar creates more space for plaque growth and makes the surface of the tooth rougher for plaque to adhere to.
- The bacteria can not only cause infection of the teeth and gums, but also the bone that supports the tooth.
The process of removing calculus is called scaling. During scaling and planning. The oral hygiene professional uses special instruments (ultrasonic or manual scalers and curettes) to remove calculus and plaque from the surface of the teeth, as well as from areas located above and below the gum line. Which is in human words called a DEEP CLEANING or SRP (Scaling and Root Planing)