Your smile defines your personality, and strong teeth are one sign of overall health and well-being.

However, let us admit that many of us do not have those sparkly bright and well-aligned white teeth, and if you have those pale yellowish teeth, it can interfere with your confidence.

Pale, yellowish teeth are quite frequent and occur when a thin layer of a mass of bacteria forms on the surface of the teeth. 

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This bacterial thin coating, also known as dental plaque, oral biofilm, microbial film, or dental biofilm, can occur between, in front of, or behind the teeth, as well as above or below the jawline.

If left untreated, dental plaque can turn brownish and create tartar, causing pain, tooth decay, sensitivity, and gum swelling.

What is a Dental Plaque? 

Dental plaque is defined as a highly sticky, colourless or pale yellow film deposit that develops continuously on your teeth. 

Plaque is formed when saliva, food, and fluids come into touch with each other. It is made up of bacteria that grow between your teeth and along your gum line. In fact, this can harm your tooth enamel and gums. 

Plaque is referred to as a "biofilm" by scientists because it is made up of living bacteria that are protected by a sticky polymer covering. 

The gluey coating allows the microorganisms to adhere to surfaces inside your mouth and grow into powerful microcolonies. Plaque is most visible when you do not properly brush or floss your teeth.

What are Dental Plaque Symptoms?

  • Your teeth have a hazy feeling to them. 
  • Gum recession and bleeding
  • Horrible unpleasant breath (halitosis) 
  • Gums that are red, swollen, and bleed when you brush or floss
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What Causes Excessive Plaque on Teeth? 

When saliva, food, and fluids interact in your mouth, they create an environment in which bacteria can thrive and deposit on your teeth and gums, particularly where the teeth and gums touch. 

Carbohydrates, or simple sugars, such as sucrose and starches found in soft drinks and confectionery, are common foods that contribute to plaque formation and progression.  

Consuming sugary meals such as cakes, candies, and fruit can lead to an increase in plaque bacteria. Plaque bacteria can cause gingivitis, caries, and severe gum disease. 

Hence it is critical to take treatment and prevention measures.  Plaque can be found between teeth and beneath the gum line. 

Certain foods, particularly carbs (foods containing sugars or starches), such as milk, soft drinks, cake, and candy, are major contributors to plaque formation.

Does Smoking Cause Plaque on Teeth?

Gum disease begins when bacteria (germs) on your teeth enter your gums. If the germs remain on your teeth for an extended period of time, layers of plaque (film) and tartar (hardened plaque) form. This buildup causes gingivitis or early gum disease.

Plaque Formation:

The bacteria nearest to the tooth surface generally obtain their energy from the digestion of dietary carbohydrates (especially sucrose). 

During fermentation, they begin to produce acids as a byproduct, and it is these acids that are capable of causing localized destruction to body tissues: either by destroying the hard surface coatings of the tooth (enamel and dentine), resulting in dental caries/decay, or by eliciting a host-mediated inflammatory response in the gums (gingivitis, which can progress to periodontitis if not treated). 

These acid-loving and decay/gum disease-causing bacterial communities are nourished by ingesting fermentable dietary carbohydrates on a regular basis, such as sugars and starches. 

Within hours of brushing, dental plaque accumulates above the gum line and is most typically observed between the teeth, in the pits and grooves of the teeth. 

This is known as supragingival plaque, and it is composed primarily of aerobic bacteria or bacteria that require oxygen to survive. 

Plaque continues to travel beneath the gum line into 'pockets' surrounding the tooth, eventually forming subgingival plaque. 

This is found in conditions conducive to the growth of anaerobic bacteria (those that flourish in the absence of oxygen). 

Dental Plaque Treatment

Even with all of the advancements and breakthroughs in dental health, the best approach to removing plaque from your teeth is to practice proper oral hygiene. 

Follow these guidelines to keep plaque off your teeth and dental problems at bay:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day

Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. 

This will aid in the removal of plaque from tooth surfaces and gums, as well as the protection of your teeth from decay. 

2. Floss your teeth daily

Floss your teeth every day, especially before bed, to ensure that no food particles become caught between your teeth, providing food for bacteria to develop. 

Flossing eliminates food particles from areas where brushes cannot, hence it is recommended.

3. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash

Use a decent mouthwash to rinse your mouth. The swishing action will wipe out any leftover food from the dental fissures. 

An antibacterial mouthwash will also kill the harmful germs on your teeth, resulting in a clean and healthy mouth.

4. Follow a Balanced Diet

Consume a well-balanced diet and limit between-meal snacking. Snacks provide more sugar and starch for bacteria. 

So, choose healthy meals like plain yoghurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables if you need one.

5. Visit the Clinic for Dental Cleaning

Get a professional dental cleaning every six months and an annual dental exam. 

Cleaning removes all remnants of plaque and tartar from the mouth and helps to prevent significant dental problems.

The Bottom Line

The more you care for your teeth, the less plaque and tartar will build up on them. To avoid plaque buildup, clean your teeth at least twice a day and floss once. 

Also, visit your dentist on a regular basis for preventative maintenance and tartar removal. Maintaining good oral hygiene will keep you healthy in the long run.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist straight away if you suspect you have a plaque or tartar buildup problem. 

The sooner you address the dental problem, the less damage it is likely to inflict and the easier (and less costly) it will be to treat.

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