Understanding Dental Plaque, Tartar, and Bacteria
Plaque is the simple term used to describe the complex biofilm made up of bacteria in the human mouth. It is the sticky substance that clings to the inner surfaces of the mouth, the teeth, and the gums. The human mouth is home to colonies of bacteria, some harmless, some helpful, and some problematic. When bacteria in the mouth join together, they start acting more like a single unit made up of many cells than a set of individual units. This is called a biofilm, which allows bacteria to survive removal efforts better than bacteria not in a biofilm. Plaques that are allowed to grow unchecked and/or are made up of mostly unhealthy bacteria lead to increased cavity formation. Further, when dental plaque is allowed to overgrow, it develops calcium structures and becomes tartar. Tartar, unlike plaque, requires a dental cleaning to remove.
What let’s plaque overgrow?
Not brushing and flossing
Eating between meal times
Having a harmful bacteria overgrowth
How do I remove plaque and tartar?
Not letting it overgrow in the first place with regular, good oral care habits
Regular dental cleanings
Tartar control toothpaste meant to prevent tartar formation (only a dental cleaning can remove tartar once is hardens to the tooth surface)
Common Questions About Plaque:
Does everyone have plaque?
Yes. It occurs in all mouths and is a natural result of the bacteria that live in and on all human beings. Not all plaque, however, is a sign of disease. Not all plaque is healthy. The bacteria involved and how well its growth is controlled help determine healthy or unhealthy dental plaque.
Is tartar the same as plaque?
Tartar is plaque that has been allowed to overgrow and calcify. The calcium structure makes it extremely difficult to remove which increases the risk that the teeth underneath the tartar will develop disease.
How can I prevent plaque from forming?
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day with a soft bristle toothbrush. Floss or use other interdental cleaner (like a water flosser) to clean between teeth. Try to confine sweet treats to mealtimes or clean your teeth about 30 minutes after consuming them.
CariFree Products to Prevent Decay
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How Diet Affects the Health of Your Teeth
How is Your Toothpaste Sweetened?
Q&A: Saliva and Brushing with Dr. V Kim Kutsch
How CariFree is Different
CariFree products can help interrupt the disease process a number of ways, preventing the cavities from ever forming. The unique pH correcting formula of CariFree products helps make the oral environment unfavorable for acid-loving, caries causing bacteria. The high pH from the CariFree system also protects tooth enamel from having minerals dissolved away in acidic conditions. The products contain nano hydroxyapatite which the teeth can use to repair missing minerals from the enamel, particularly in the high pH environment the products create. Xylitol, a natural, non-nutritive sweetener, has several dental benefits. It makes bacteria less able to stick together in a tough to remove biofilm. Caries causing bacteria also eat the xylitol but cannot use it for energy or to reproduce. So, the bacteria starve to death while eating xylitol.