The Effects of Plaque on Your Dental Health

At Jason L. Downey, DDS Dentistry, we are committed to helping you attain optimal dental health. Below, our Las Vegas dentists share a few points that, if you understand them, will go a long way in your pursuit of healthy teeth and gums.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Jason Downey about your dental health concerns, please contact us today!

Plaque Is a Feeding Ground for Bacteria

Your mouth is filled with bacteria, both good and bad. The bacteria in your mouth combines with saliva and the food that you eat. This combination of bacteria, food, and saliva is commonly referred to as “dental plaque” or just “plaque.”

Once plaque forms in your mouth, it sticks to your teeth. When plaque sticks to your teeth, the bacteria in the plaque use the food you consume as fuel. The byproduct is acid.

Bacteria Produce Acid

Acid in your mouth is not a good thing for your dental health! The acid attacks the enamel of your teeth, causing what we call a cavity or decay. If not removed, this acid attack can literally eat away at the tooth. This can expose the nerve of the tooth leading to pain, swelling, and expensive dental treatments.

The decay can be removed and the hole filled with a dental restoration or “filling,” but if you do not keep the plaque cleaned off, you will get a cavity around the edges of your restoration!

Removing plaque is an ongoing concern, not a one time procedure.

Removing Plaque Prevents Cavities!

If you keep the plaque off of your teeth it is impossible to get a cavity because the plaque has to stick to the tooth before it can make the acid that causes cavities!

The acid and toxins from plaque also attack the gums and the supporting bone. Your gums get puffy and swollen. When your gums are puffy and swollen, they bleed at the slightest touch.

If your blood can get out through your gums, the bacteria in the plaque can get into your bloodstream.

When bacteria get into your bloodstream, they can cause inflammation and infection anywhere in your body! We know that inflammation is one of the most concerning health problems people have today.

Fortunately, our Las Vegas practice has the tools and technology to treat oral health problems at the onset, preventing future damage to your teeth as well as your body.

Plaque Can Affect Your Jawbone, Too!

The jawbone does not get puffy and swollen; it erodes. Bone cannot tolerate the acid and toxins from plaque, so it begins to melt away. If the plaque is left on your teeth you will have less and less bone support for your teeth.

This process of gums getting puffy and swollen while the bone melts away is called periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease.

More people lose teeth to gum disease than to any other cause. As the bone melts away, the teeth begin to get loose and continue loosening until there is not enough bone supporting them. They eventually fall out or are removed.

If you keep the plaque off of your teeth, your gums do not get puffy and swollen, and the bone does not melt away because the acidic irritant is gone.

Be Proactive When It Comes to Dental Health!

The take home message for a healthy mouth is to keep the plaque off of your teeth. Because plaque likes to stick between teeth and at or below the gum line, brushing is a vital— but not the most important— method of keeping plaque off of your teeth.

Another key way to keep plaque off of your teeth is to floss correctly one time each day. If you floss correctly and completely remove the plaque, it will take the plaque 24 hours to be able to stick to your teeth again. Flossing correctly once each day will prevent the development of cavities and stop the progression of periodontal disease.

Regular brushing and flossing are essential for keeping your mouth healthy, but even the most attentive brushers and flossers need some help in keeping plaque at bay. Be sure to attend regular cleanings to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

If cavities and periodontal disease are not issues for you now, there are three steps required to keep your mouth healthy. The first is to maintain whatever dental work has been done in the past (since we know that everything wears out, just like the tires on your car). The second is to make sure you have a comfortable and correct bite relationship that is not causing damage to your teeth through clenching or grinding. The third is to continue to remove the plaque daily so cavities and periodontal disease do not become issues for you in the future.

Learn More about Your Dental Health

If you would like to know more about achieving your best possible dental health, please contact the Las Vegas office of Jason L. Downey, DDS, also serving Summerlin and Spring Valley, to schedule a private consultation today.