ewwIf you’ve ever visited your dentist, seen a dental hygiene commercial, or run your tongue across your teeth after you haven’t brushed for a while, then you’re probably familiar with dental plaque. The sticky, gross feeling of plaque covering your teeth is enough to prompt most people to run for a toothbrush, or at least chew a piece of sugarless gum when brushing isn’t possible. To help further propel you to rid your mouth of the biofilm, your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, explains what dental plaque is made of, and why it’s such a significant threat to the health of your smile.

A Dangerous Crowd

At any given moment, a healthy human mouth contains over 600 different identifiable kinds of bacteria that form an extracellular biofilm (plaque) when they gather in force. Luckily, they’re not all harmful. In fact, some of them may be vital to maintaining your mouth’s delicate ecology. Some of these oral germs, however, are notorious for instigating tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath through their metabolic processes. For instance, Streptococcus mutans, a major contributor to dental plaque, converts the sugars and carbs from your meals into lactic acid, which depletes the minerals from your teeth and weakens their enamel. This acid erosion leaves your tooth’s softer main structure, called dentin, vulnerable to bacterial infection, tooth decay, and cavities (small holes in your tooth formed by decay). Other germs can irritate your gum tissue, leading to gum recession and inflammation that lead to gum disease.

A Little Diligence, for Your Smile’s Sake

The purpose of brushing and flossing your teeth diligently twice a day (or more) is to control your mouth’s bacterial population and the buildup of dental plaque, reducing your risk of developing destructive dental diseases. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once, preferably before bedtime. Refrain from snacking often to reduce your teeth’s exposure to bacterial acid, and attend a professional dental checkup and cleaning at least once every six months, or sooner if Dr. Kennedy recommends it.

Protect Your Smile from Dangerous Plaque with Your Waco Dentist

To learn more about the dangerous inhabitants of your mouth and how to protect your smile from them, schedule a consultation with Dr. Locke by calling our Waco dentist’s office at (254) 776-4888. Located in the 76712 area, we proudly welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.