Our mouths contain many types of bacteria, and every time after we eat, plaque forms on our teeth. We need to brush and floss our teeth everyday in order to remove plaque.
Plaque is a soft, sticky film which is made up of approximately 70% bacteria, and is almost constantly present on our teeth surface. If left alone, plaque will mature and eventually harden to form stubborn, stone-like particles called tartar or calculus.
Plaque is the cause of 2 most common dental problems found in every population: Dental Decay and Gum Disease.
Dental Decay (Caries)
After eating, the bacteria in plaque will break down sugars in our food and produce acids, which softens the tooth surface. Over time, the tooth surface will lose more minerals, and eventually a cavity forms. If left untreated, the cavity deepens and starts to cause extreme sensitivity and eventually, a toothache. By this time, a filling alone is not sufficient, and your tooth will require a root canal treatment, or an extraction.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis & Periodontitis)
Besides causing decay, plaque also causes inflammation of the gums as their very presence near the gums will irritate the gums and cause them to swell and bleed easily. At this point, the inflammation known as gingivitis is reversible and easily treated with a round of Scaling & Polishing.
However, if plaque is left unremoved along the gums, they will harden over time and form tartar or calculus, causing more gum inflammation and eventually, bone loss. At this stage, the gum levels will recede, and in severe cases, cause increased mobility of teeth. This type of severe gum disease is known as periodontitis, and is more challenging to treat and to bring under control.