Our pearly whites are daily exposed to an onslaught of different kinds of eatables, from hard-boiled confectionaries, chocolates or soft processed food items to highly staining beverages such as coffee, tea and wine. Due to the tenacity of these edibles, despite regular oral hygiene maintenance, we are unable to keep our teeth completely free from bacteria and plaque. Over time these plaque and stains build-up can affect our gum health and smile esthetics. Continue reading to know more about the build-up and how to get rid of it.
What is dental plaque and calculus?
A dental plaque is a colourless/pale yellow, sticky film that forms and adheres to the outer surface of teeth. This film is made up of microbes that feed on the food and beverages you have, typically forming between your gumline and teeth. Plaque begins to form on your teeth 4-12 hours after brushing and is present on every individual’s teeth. This plaque, when not adequately and timely removed, collect minerals from your saliva and hardens into yellowish-brown tartar. Although it is possible to dislodge some amount of tartar by regular flossing between teeth, most of it can only be removed by professional teeth cleaning by your dental hygienist or dentist.
Why Accumulated Plaque and Calculus is Dangerous?
Plaque and tartar are bacterial colonies that are the root cause of a multitude of oral troubles.
Dental Decay: the bacteria in plaque act on soft food lodged in-between and on the chewing surface of your teeth. They break it down to produce acid that eats away at your teeth, producing cavities and ultimately bacterial tooth decay. The process is even more deleterious under your gum-line where the bacterial decay eats away at your tooth support, causing tooth loss.
Gum Disease: The calculus or tartar build-up over time causes gingival irritation and inflammation. The gums become swollen, red and bleed while brushing or eating. This gingivitis, when neglected becomes widespread and causes receding gum-line, teeth sensitivity, and bone loss. With time, the teeth lose their support and fall off.
Bad Breath and poor esthetics: bacterial accumulation on teeth and tongue is the main cause of persistent bad breath. Not to mention the yellowish-brown tint of teeth that gives an unsightly appearance.
The Cure- Professional Dental Cleaning
Only a professional dental cleaning helps you get rid of the tightly adhered plaque and calculus. The procedure involves:
Ultrasonic Scaling: This is the first step of professional cleaning. The aim is to control the infection and prevent any further build-up. Your hygienist or dentist will employ special instruments called Ultrasonic scalers to remove the tartar build-up and deposits from your teeth.
Polishing: The Scaling step is often followed by polishing, whereby a high-standard polishing material is used to make the tooth surfaces smooth and hinder redeposition by bacterial agents.
Dental Plaque is a biofilm that naturally forms in the oral cavity after food intake. Plaque, if not adequately removed, hardens into calculus and this significantly increases the risk of gum disease. Unfortunately, we cannot remove this calculus by manual brushing alone. Thorough professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist is the most appropriate way to deal with this build-up on your teeth. As a signing note, we would recommend visiting your dentist whenever you have symptoms such as swollen, red, painful gums or bleeding while brushing.