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You’ve probably heard about plaque before–especially if you’ve ever visited a dentist–but do actually know what it is? Do you know what you can do to keep plaque at bay, stop it from forming, and the effect plaque can actually have on your smile?

Plaque is a soft substance that builds up on your teeth. Plaque typically forms when there’s an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth. If there’s more bad bacteria in your mouth than good, plaque can actually grow faster. The process is also accelerated if you don’t brush and floss consistently, or if you have an unbalanced diet. If you don’t remove plaque from your smile, it will harden into tartar, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.

It takes around 24 hours for plaque to harden into tartar. Sadly, tartar can’t be removed without visiting a dental professional. If tartar isn’t removed, it could spread below the gum line, which will make it more difficult to remove and leave you more vulnerable to periodontitis.

One effective way to avoid the issues caused by plaque is simply preventing plaque buildup. Aside from brushing for two minutes at a time twice a day and flossing daily, we recommend following a healthy diet. Specifically, we suggest including crispy foods, such as celery or apples. These foods will promote saliva flow, which will strengthen your teeth and carry away plaque and bad bacteria.

Finally, please remember to schedule regular checkups with our dentist, Dr. Dexter Inniss. We’ll be happy to examine the health of your teeth and gums and offer you personalized advice. If you’re interested in learning more, or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact Gentle Touch Dental at 770-760-7566. We’re eager to hear from you.