Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body, and yet, it is still vulnerable to decay. Plaque buildup is a sticky bacterial film that causes bacteria in the mouth to release acids that erode tooth enamel. This erosion leads to tooth decay and gum disease, and if it is left untreated, it can lead to severe periodontal disease. When this happens, the gums recede from the teeth allowing the bacteria to destroy the supporting bone matter under the teeth. This is why diligent daily oral care–brushing and flossing, along with regular dental cleanings to remove hardened plaque (tartar)–is so important.
The mouth is home to a variety of bacteria which feed on the sugar in the food and drinks you consume. They then produce acids unless you clean them off your pearly whites and gums by brushing and flossing. The easiest way to remove plaque is while it is still soft, because once it is allowed to harden (which can happen fairly quickly) it will need to be removed by your dentist.
As plaque collects on your teeth the acids erode the minerals in the enamel. This allows tiny holes to form which in turn let in more bacteria and acid to attack the layer under the enamel, the dentin. The next step in plaque’s destructive path is the tooth pulp, which lies under the dentin. The pulp houses blood vessels and nerves, so when bacteria get to this point, you will be experiencing a variety of symptoms including tooth sensitivity, pain when you bite down, and toothache. If your body tries to fight the infection, you may get a tooth abscess, which is a pocket of pus.
To avoid the ravages of plaque, brush and floss every single day and see your dentist twice a year for tartar removal. Your smile will thank you!
To schedule your next visit with Dr. Miles Mason, please call our Montgomery County Periodontal Associates team in Conroe, Texas at (936) 756-1669 today.