Long Term Effects of Plaque Buildup

Man flossingOne of the primary advantages of bi-annual visits to the dentist is having teeth professionally cleaned. Why is it so important to get teeth cleaned every six months? You brush and floss regularly every day, so why isn’t that enough?

Every time we eat or drink, the bacteria that live in the mouth attract the sugars from the items consumed. This bacteria forms a sticky substance called plaque. Throughout the day and night, plaque hardens. And so the process repeats itself day after day. Over time, even with brushing and flossing, plaque remains quite often starting below the gum line.

The appointments with the dentist are critical to removing this plaque. Our dental providers are taught the most effective way to remove plaque without damaging the protective enamel on teeth.

Skipping dental appointments allows plaque to continue to build-up on teeth. Over time as bacteria multiply, potential damage can include:

  • Tooth decay – A cavity occurs when the enamel has been breached and bacteria eat away at the tooth. This does not happen overnight, so if dental appointments are missed, catching a cavity in its early stages become more difficult resulting in a more extensive repair when found.
  • Gum disease – There are several stages of gum disease with multiple symptoms. The first stage is gingivitis which can be indicated by red, swollen gums, chronic bad breath and bleeding gums. If ignored, the symptoms can escalate to loose teeth or gum tissue pulling away from teeth. The more serious gum disease is called periodontitis, and without treatment the patient can develop serious infections, abscess, and tooth loss.
  • Tooth loss – The prospect of losing teeth prematurely is daunting. If tooth loss is not corrected, the patient can lose the ability to eat normally, speak clearly, and smile with confidence.

Just as we are warned about plaque building up in our bodies, it can also have a detrimental effect on teeth and gum tissue. And even the most vigilant person who brushes and flosses as directed may not be immune to plaque build-up.

That is why consistent dental appointments are so important for healthy and gums. Call the office of Dr. Howl today to schedule your next dental visit.