You’d be forgiven for thinking that the term plaque refers to a brittle substance that flakes off when you brush your teeth, as is often shown in toothbrush adverts. In fact, dental plaque is a soft, sticky film made up of millions of bacteria – the breeding ground for gum disease and tooth decay.
Plaque develops after drinking or eating (particularly sugary or starch foods) – you can recognise it by running your tongue over your teeth – if they don’t feel nice and smooth then you have a film of plaque that needs to be removed. This can be done simply by regularly brushing your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes and importantly, using an inter-dental brush to get between your teeth.
When plaque is allowed to build up it hardens and becomes tartar which is often yellow or brown in colour. This will need to be removed by your dentist or hygienist to ensure that you are not at risk from cavities, gingivitis or even tooth loss.
As ever, we’re here to help so please get in touch if you have any queries about this, or any other dental topic.