Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that covers the teeth as a result of untreated bacteria buildup. Formed as a “fuzzy” coating on the surface of the teeth, plaque is very common. It typically doesn’t require outside treatment as long as patients are consistent with brushing and flossing, but a lack of dental hygiene can cause tartar to form. While brushing and flossing your teeth can help reduce bacteria and surface stains, daily oral hygiene isn’t enough to remove plaque once it progresses into tartar. In these cases, a professional cleaning from a skilled hygienist is the best way to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, underscoring the importance of maintaining your semi-annual dental appointments. The symptoms of plaque vary from patient to patient, but common signs that you may need to seek care include:
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Tenderness after brushing
- A soft, fuzzy feeling on the surface of teeth
- Yellowed or discolored enamel
When left untreated, plaque can harden and progress into tartar — a type of dental calculus that can cause serious symptoms like periodontal disease, infections, perpetual bad breath, and severe discoloration. Similar to many other dental conditions, treating plaque in the early stages of bacteria buildup is the best way to prevent your symptoms from exacerbating. Libby Dental not only offers professional teeth cleanings and oral exams, but we also provide periodontal care for patients contending with swollen gums, bleeding, loose teeth, bad breath, or other symptoms commonly associated with late-stage gum disease.
If plaque continues to accumulate in the mouth, the bacteria can gradually eat away at your teeth and gum tissue. While living with the symptoms of plaque buildup is difficult, Dr. Landon Libby’s team of gentle hygienists can help. Contact our Mission Valley office for a comprehensive dental examination or to learn more about our preventive dental treatments.