Plaque and Your Oral Health

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Your mouth is one of the most fascinating parts of your body. Not only does it house your pearly whites and gums, your tongue and throat, but it also houses millions of bacteria! In the average adult, anywhere from 100 to 200 species of bacteria may live in your mouth. If you take good care of your teeth, you will likely have 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria on EACH tooth surface! Many of these bacteria are harmless, but some are not.

Streptococcus is a type of bacteria which lives in your mouth, and every time you eat a piece of food, or drink something, it feeds on the sugars and starches left behind. Then it reacts with the sugars and starches and creates acid. Eventually this acid turns into a sticky film—plaque—that coats your teeth and if left untreated, hardens into tartar.

Tooth decay happens in stages. As the bacterial acid breaks down your tooth enamel, it exposes the softer, sensitive dentin layer underneath. As it strips the minerals from your enamel it causes holes. The dentin, because it is soft, is even more vulnerable to acid erosion. If it is allowed to continue unchecked, it wears down the tooth’s structure until it reaches the pulp, which houses the nerves and blood vessels. Here the bacteria irritate the pulp until is swells, which means you can experience severe toothache and sensitivity, and pain when you chew. If your becomes abscessed, you will have an infection, which is the creation of a pocket of pus as your body sends white blood cells to fight the infection.

To avoid the damaging effects of plaque and the resulting cavities, there are some things you can do:

–Brush and floss at least twice a day.
–Drink water to stay well hydrated by maintaining saliva production to protect your teeth and gums.
–Eat a healthy balanced diet, avoiding excess sugars and starches.
–Visit your dentist at least once a year to remove hardened plaque.

Our dental team at Royse City Dental Care is here to help you keep cavities at bay. Call us at 972-636-2417 if you have any questions or to schedule your next appointment!