Welcome to the office of Thomas E. Ouellette, DDS, PC, in Denver Colorado! Today we would like to talk a little bit about dental plaque and how it impacts your smile. Streptococcus is a bacteria living in the mouth which feeds on sugars and starches left behind after eating, creating acid. If this acid is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it grows into plaque, that sticky film which coats the teeth and hardens into tartar.
So how does plaque damage tooth enamel? First, bacterial acid breaks down tooth enamel by stripping minerals in the enamel, creating holes. These holes expose the sensitive dentin layer beneath the enamel, which is vulnerable to the effects of acid erosion because it is softer. Bacterial acid continues to wear down the tooth’s structure until it reaches the pulp, which houses the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. This acid then irritates the pulp until is swells, resulting in severe toothache, sensitivity, and pain when chewing. Once the pulp becomes abscessed this infection creates a pocket of pus where the body sends white blood cells to fight it.
What You Can Do to Reduce Plaque and Tooth Decay
— Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each session, and floss between the teeth and around the gumline once daily.
— Use an antimicrobial mouthwash once a day to reduce bacteria.
— Increase saliva production to avoid dry mouth. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
— Consume a healthy, balanced diet and limit snacking between meals, as this perpetually coats your teeth with sugars and starches that feed harmful bacteria, producing acid.
— See your dentist every year for cleanings to remove tartar and check for gum disease. If you are cavity prone it is recommended to have this done every six months.
At the office of Dr. Thomas Ouellette in Denver, Colorado, we are here to help you keep cavity-free. If you have any questions, or to schedule an appointment with our dentist, please give our team a call at 303.296.1402 today.