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Tooth decay has multifactorial causes but inevitably occurs if tartar and dental plaque, also known as biofilm, are not controlled. These three enemies of oral health eventually unite and can cause many problems. Among these is diminished self-esteem due to a less aesthetic and less healthy-looking smile.

 

Dental Plaque or Biofilm

Let’s address the issue at its source with plaque, also commonly known as dental biofilm. Our mouths host thousands or even millions of bacteria that continuously cluster and multiply. They form a bacterial film that adheres to the surface of the teeth, particularly between them and along the gum line. To prevent the excessive growth of this undesirable substance, regular brushing after meals and flossing are essential. Remember, this step can significantly prevent or lessen the severity of other problems such as tartar, and subsequently, tooth decay.

 

When Plaque Turns into Tartar

This bacterial film, or plaque, provides a soft surface perfect for collecting food debris, saliva, etc. If dental plaque is not removed through brushing or properly dislodged from its preferred areas between the teeth and along the gum line, it thickens and hardens quickly. It then becomes the calcified substance known as tartar. Cleanings performed by a dental hygienist primarily serve to remove the biofilm and eliminate tartar so that tooth decay does not develop and gums remain healthy.

 

Tooth Decay: An Everyday Threat

As mentioned earlier in this blog, tooth decay results from various factors such as diet, sugary snacks, poor oral hygiene, the acidity level of saliva, etc. However, what becomes evident is the process of plaque transforming into tartar and then into decay. Tooth decay is defined as a disease of the hard tissues of the tooth. It progresses inward, forming a cavity. It first attacks the enamel but can spread to other layers, namely the dentin and pulp. Dental treatments at this stage vary according to the nature and severity of the decay.

 

And the Gums…

Plaque, tartar, and eventually tooth decay often bring along inflamed gums that need to be treated. It may start as gingivitis. But the situation can worsen and affect the periodontium, leading to periodontitis, which is the advanced stage of gingivitis. The periodontium comprises all the tissues covering the tooth.

 

In Conclusion

A diet without excessive sugar, adequate oral hygiene, and regular visits to the dentist contribute to maintaining good oral and overall health.

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