Dental Plaque: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Options

Dental Plaque: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Options

Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless to pale yellow buildup of biofilm on the teeth and is formed by bacteria living in the mouth. It is visible when teeth are not brushed and feels fuzzy to the tongue. Read on to learn about the causes, prevention, and treatment of dental plaque.

What Causes Plaque?

Plaque is formed when you eat foods that are sugary and contain carbohydrates such as candy, raisins, milk, soft drinks, or cakes. The bacteria living in the mouth thrive on foods particles that cling to teeth and produce acids. Over time, these acids destroy the tooth’s enamel surface, which causes tooth decay. Plaque can form on the roots below the gum line and cause the bone supporting the tooth to breakdown.

How to Prevent Plaque?

You can follow these steps to prevent the formation of plaque:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Focus on the spots where the teeth and gums meet.
  • Floss once a day to remove bacteria and food particles.
  • Use an antibacterial mouth wash to destroy bacteria that cause gum disease and plaque.
  • Visit your dentist, every 6 months for checkups and teeth cleaning.
  • Use a dental sealant after consulting your dentist. Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings placed on the surface of the back teeth to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
  • Eat a balanced diet and reduce the number of snacks between meals. When snacking, eat healthy foods like cheese, plain yogurt, fruits, or raw vegetables.

Related Article: Things to Consider When Finding a Good Dentist in Your Area

Plaque Treatment Options

Plaque can be removed using non-surgical treatments, including:

1. Professional Dental Cleaning

Plaque that forms and hardens on the teeth can be removed by professional cleaning. At your regular dental checkup, your dentist will remove the plaque from both above and below the gum line. Your dentist may suggest professional dental cleaning more than twice a year if you have signs of gum disease.

Related Article: Bad Breath: What Causes It and How You Can Prevent It

2. Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a deeper cleaning method that requires anesthesia. Plaque present above and below the gum line is scraped away and hard spots on the tooth’s surface are made smooth. Planing (smoothing) the hard spots eliminates bacteria and provides a clean surface between gums and teeth. Professional scaling and root planing are performed to remove plaque under the gums.

If you have any dental health-related questions or concerns, our dentists in Ames, IA, are here to help you. They will assist you with treatment options for both simple and complex dental issues.


Campustown Dental

Campustown Dental, located in Ames, Iowa is a family dental care center committed to restoring and enhancing the healthy smile of you and your family. Our highly skilled dental team is dedicated to delivering the most comprehensive and affordable dental care accessible in the most comfortable surroundings.

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