Gum Disease & Tooth Decay

How Bacteria Can Lead to Gum Disease and Oral Decay

Your mouth is the perfect moist, dark environment in which harmful bacteria that can lead to plaque and buildup thrive. When bacteria is allowed to remain inside of your mouth and on the surface of your teeth, dental plaque that can lead a number of dental complications forms.

Fortunately, this buildup of plaque and bacteria can be entirely avoided by maintaining a healthy and consistent oral care routine.

What is The Role of Bacterial Plaque in Tooth Decay?

Bacterial plaque produces acids that feed off of the sugars from everyday food and drinks you consume. As bacterial plaque builds, your natural enamel is worn away by these acids and plaque’s sticky property, forcing these acids against the surface of your teeth.

The National Institutes of Health reports that acids from dental plaque form after meals, meaning your teeth are most vulnerable to plaque formation within 20 minutes after eating or drinking.

How Does Tartar Contribute to Gum Disease?

Bacterial plaque can contribute to tartar, eventually leading to infection and gum disease. Tartar buildup is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and plaque.

In the early stages of gum disease, your gums may bleed easily and become swollen, sensitive, and puffy. This is referred to as gingivitis and you should always be on alert for these early warning signs.

If left untreated, plaque and tartar left at the gumline will eventually attack the surrounding bone and ligaments, potentially leading to periodontal disease.

Keeping Your Enamel Strong and Healthy

Keeping your enamel strong and healthy is an important step in your plaque fighting routine. Always be sure to use a cavity protection, fluoride containing toothpaste as part of your regular oral care regimen.

Your Gentle Care dentist can suggest additional forms of fluoride to add to your routine, including mouth rinses and fluoridated water.

The Importance of Proper Brushing

Practicing an inconsistent oral care routine can put you at risk for plaque development and hinder your ability to reverse gum disease while still in the early stages.

Brush twice daily to ensure lingering bacteria is removed from the gumline, and replace your toothbrush about every 6 months to avoid reintroducing harmful bacteria that may be lingering on your toothbrush.

Do I Really Need to Add Flossing to My Daily Routine?

Flossing once daily is an essential part of plaque removal and a healthy oral care routine. Because stuck food particles cannot be removed from the tiny spaces between teeth, flossing is necessary to remove plaque and debris from these hard to reach areas before the plaque hardens into tartar-putting you at risk for gum disease and decay.

Flossing should be performed after brushing, ideally before bed. If flossing in the morning is more convenient for you, make morning flossing a part of your daily routine.

If you find flossing difficult, ask your Gentle Care Dentists professional for tips to adjust your method, including floss holders or other interdental devices.

The Importance of Regular Cleanings and Checkups

Once bacterial plaque has hardened into tartar, it cannot be removed at home with regular brushings.

For this reason, scheduling regular cleanings and checkups with Gentle Care Dentists is essential to remove plaque and tartar on the surface of your teeth and below the gumline.

Your dentist can detect early warning signs of decay during your regular cleanings, treating it before it leads to more costly and serious dental complications down the road.

Reducing Plaque by Following a Healthy Diet

Eliminating refined sugars, found in candy as well as many common carbohydrates, will drastically reduce the bacteria on your teeth required by dental plaque to form the harmful acids that lead to decay and gum disease.

The American Dental Association recommends following a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, dairy, proteins, and fresh produce. You can try replacing sugary snacks with less acidic foods including yogurt, cheese, and natural peanut butter.

Fighting bacterial plaque will greatly reduce your risk of developing gum disease and oral decay, and put you well on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile.

Following the steps outlined here will ensure that you are equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to win the battle against plaque!

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