Plaque is a film that accumulates naturally on your teeth every day. Unfortunately, excess plaque can lead to serious dental problems. Composed largely of bacteria, plaque can react with the residue of food and beverages you’ve consumed and release acids that gradually damage the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities.
Without consistent brushing and flossing, plaque that remains on your teeth eventually will harden and become calculus, also known as tartar. This substance generally requires a dentist or dental hygienist for its removal. More importantly, as plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, your gums can become swollen and tender, which is an early symptom of gum disease. As gum disease progresses, it can break down and destroy the tissue and bone that support your teeth. Research has even indicated a link between gum disease and other serious health problems like stroke, heart disease, pneumonia, and complications in pregnancy.
You can combat plaque problems by brushing twice a day and flossing daily, minimizing sugary foods and beverages, and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.