What is Plaque?

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Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how it contributes to dental decay.

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along the gumline. It accumulates from normal daily activities such as eating and drinking, especially if you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches.

Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush?
Yep, that’s plaque. Plaque is what contributes to dental decay, as bacteria like to consume the sugars in your mouth and excrete acids that wear away at your tooth enamel.

So, what's the big deal about plaque?

When you don’t regularly brush and floss away plaque, it forms tartar. Tartar forms 24 hours after plaque is left on the teeth.  Soft plaque turns into hard tartar.  Tartar is the calcified substance on your teeth that now only a professional cleaning can remove.

How do I prevent tartar buildup?

The best way to prevent tartar buildup is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss.   I would recommend brushing after every meal. Yes, that means 3 times a day. If you decide to snack, then remember to brush also after snacking.

Why does tartar matter?

Remember that plaque excretes acids on your teeth.  These acids breakdown the enamel surface of the tooth which can lead to a dental cavity which may need a filling.

What are some ways of removing plaque from my teeth?

Check out our section on Preventive Care. Here you will find how to properly brush and floss your teeth. If you have an infant, then head over to our Infant Care section.

All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about improving your child's oral health check out our preventive dentistry page. Still want more information? Check out our monthly blog posts! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Get acquainted with us by watching our practice video and find out what we do.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.