Getting to Know Development of Dental Plaque

At any given moment of the day, you probably have some plaque in your mouth. If not, bacteria are furiously working to make more. Plaque is a complex microbial community formed by germs which occur naturally in your mouth. There are over 600 different strains of bacteria in the human mouth.  Some of them are considered “good…

At any given moment of the day, you probably have some plaque in your mouth. If not, bacteria are furiously working to make more. Plaque is a complex microbial community formed by germs which occur naturally in your mouth. There are over 600 different strains of bacteria in the human mouth.  Some of them are considered “good germs” while others (i.e. Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria which cause cavities) are considered harmful. Plaque falls into two separate categories: supragingival and subgingival. “Gingiva” refers to your gum tissues, so supragingival plaque is the biofilm which resides on your teeth above the crest of your gums (AKA gingival margin). Supragingival plaque can be removed by proper brushing and regular flossing. If it remains on your smile, however, the backlash can be disastrous. You could eventually end up with adult tooth loss. This is why your oral hygiene and dental visits are so essential.

Dangers of Plaque Development

Subgingival plaque develops below your gumline in areas of your mouth which are generally unreachable by your toothbrush. Plaque below the gumline can cause damage to the connective tissues between your gums and teeth. There, pockets can form and bacteria may teem and multiply. This leads to periodontal disease. Furthermore, plaque can extend down onto tooth roots, ultimately leading to a breakdown of jawbone tissue.

Dental Plaque Development

The bacteria which form plaque use nutrients from the food you consume and components from your salivary output to grow and thrive. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) make up the main food of choice for the germs which develop plaque. Inside your mouth, bacteria and saliva coexist in a microbial community, forging a symbiotic relationship. Plaque extracts inorganic components, such as calcium and phosphorus, from your saliva. If you don’t remove plaque from your teeth within 48 hours, it will harden into tartar.

Visit your Knoxville Dentist

Are you concerned with plaque and tartar buildup? Are you overdue for a proper dental cleaning and checkup? Talk to Dr. Erpenbach today about the symbiotic relationship your mouth has with the rest of your body. Call 865-329-7815 to schedule your appointment at your local Knoxville dentist office. We serve residents of West Knoxville and the Bearden area.