Oral Health News

October 2018

Attack the plaque!

What exactly is plaque?

Plaque is a biofilm that forms inside your mouth. Bio, what!? A biofilm! A biofilm is made of microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) and sticky substances they produce. The dental biofilm (called plaque) is made of bacteria and the substances they produce. These bacteria secrete a slimy substance that helps them stick to the teeth and to one another. This slimy substance helps protect the bacteria but is harmful to the teeth and gums when left to build up. As more and more bacteria enter the biofilm, more slime is secreted, pulling more bacteria in.

While the initial bacteria may not be all bad for you, as the biofilm builds, it changes to become more harmful. Bacteria in plaque can cause both tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease (gingivitis).

The biofilm on your tongue can cause bad breath.

What's the best way to attack it?

With a toothbrush...

Brushing your teeth disrupts the biofilm. The bacteria that remain in your mouth must then begin to create the biofilm all over again. It is estimated that it takes about 12 hours for the biofilm to build-up to the point that the bad bacteria overpower the good bacteria. That is why it is recommended to brush two times each day.

...and floss!

Brushing only reaches 60 percent of tooth surfaces! Bacteria in biofilm love to hide in all little nooks and crannies, like between the teeth and just under the gum line.