Hello! Meet plaque:
Plaque is the whitish sticky film that makes your teeth feel “fuzzy” after indulging in too sweet or starchy a meal. It collects in between and on the surface of your teeth, as well as in the tiny grooves and creases of your gums. The amount of plaque in your mouth can be kept under control by (1) brushing at least twice a day, (2) flossing before you go to bed at night, (3) avoiding foods that are high in sugar and starch and (4) going for regular appointments with your dentist at New Jersey dental implant center.
Yet, in spite of how simple this plaque-prevention regime is, few people follow it! And why would they? What’s wrong with plaque? It seems harmless enough… doesn’t it?
Plaque Under the Microscope
Perhaps more people would be encouraged to brush and floss regularly and moderate their sugar intake if they understood what plaque really is.
Plaque is bacteria. It’s a thick layer or ‘biofilm’ of bacteria that thrive on the sugary residues and food debris left behind in your mouth after a meal. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, the by-products or wastes produced by oral bacteria, which are very acidic, are allowed to accumulate on your teeth and gums.
Plaque and tartar (hardened deposits of plaque) lead to gum irritation, swelling and inflammation and the erosion of your dental enamel, causing dental caries or cavities to develop. These holes in your teeth provide perfect shelter for other nasty microbes, which, without treatment, can deepen until they penetrate the heart of the tooth, leading to infection of the pulp chamber. At this juncture, the affected tooth is in grave danger of succumbing to irreparable decay.
Understanding the Link between Oral Health and General Health
Plaque, tartar, cavities, gingivitis and tooth decay are all caused by poor oral hygiene and a diet that is high in sugars and starch. Smoking and alcohol and drug-abuse are also linked to these oral maladies. But did you know that your bad habits could be affecting more than just your pearly whites?
Plaque on the teeth; plaque in the heart. That’s right: bad oral hygiene could lead to cardiovascular problems! The bacteria you so lovingly culture in your mouth through lack of brushing and flossing quite easily find their way into your bloodstream. You aspirate legions of bacteria every time you breathe in and you ingest even more every time you swallow. People who already have periodontitis – an advanced and chronic bacterial infection of the underlying jaw bone and soft tissues – are especially vulnerable.
The oral bacteria that cause periodontitis have actually been found in the plaque that accumulates in the arteries and ventricles of the heart, causing or contributing to the exacerbation of cardiovascular disease. Poor oral health is also linked with respiratory disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, oral cancer and diabetes.
Protecting Your Health
With proper oral health care and hygiene and regular appointments with your NJ dental implant expert, you can minimize bacterial activity in your mouth, keeping your gums and teeth clean and in excellent condition. The benefit of a healthy mouth is more than just a confident smile… people who look after their teeth actually live longer!