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Plaque- What Is It and How It Is Affecting Us?

Plaque is a film of bacteria (biofilm) that forms on your teeth and gums. It is increased after eating foods that produce acids. These foods may include carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as candy and cookies, and starchy foods such as bread, crackers, and cereal or pasta.

Tooth decay leads to cavities and occurs when plaque remains on your teeth for an extended period of time, allowing the bacteria to 'eat away' the surface of your teeth and gums. The areas surrounding restored portions of teeth, where fillings have been placed, are also vulnerable to decay and are a breeding ground for bacteria.

Plaque can lead to gum irritation, soreness, and redness. Sometimes, your gums may begin to bleed as a result of plaque. This gradual degeneration can often cause gums to pull away from teeth forming deep periodontal pockets eventually destroying the bone beneath the tooth causing the tooth loss.

Some people experience an extreme body reaction to plaque. Even their oral home care routine is almost perfect, they suffer from a periodontal disease. In those cases their bodies respond excessively to even very small amounts of plaque. They need to come regularly for their dental hygiene appointments and work closely with a dental hygienist to monitor this condition and react very quickly to any bad changes. People with diabetes are included in this group.

The elevated blood sugar and insulin levels cause increased plaque production and impaired gums healing. Red, swollen, painful and bleeding gums are the main symptoms that require patients to come more often for scaling and root planning. Together with your dental hygienist you can establish a proper frequency of your visits. Pregnant women are also included in this group. High levels of hormones increase tissue sensitivity to plaque, causing signs and symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis. It is very important to work with your dental hygienist to reduce risk for the baby and increase chances for a happy pregnancy outcome.


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