They are sticky, colourless film of bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth and along the gum line which contains bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are growing in our mouths. Plaque that is not removed from around the gum line can cause inflammation and irritation to the gums around your teeth.
When you eat foods containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids, which attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth & causes enamel breaks down forming a hole or cavity.
Plaque & Gum disease
If plaque is not removed by brushing, it can harden into something called ‘calculus’. As calculus forms near the gum line, the plaque underneath releases harmful poisons causing the gums to become irritated and inflamed. The gums start to pull away from the teeth and the gaps become infected. If gum disease is not treated promptly, the bone supporting the teeth is destroyed, and healthy teeth can become loose and fall out. Severe gum disease can lead to teeth falling out and needing to be replaced.
Gum disease is generally painless, even though it damages the bone supporting the teeth. They will usually show itself as red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or clean between your teeth. Many people are worried when they notice their gums are bleeding and then brush more gently, or stop altogether. In fact, it is important that you continue to clean regularly and thoroughly if you are to fight the gum disease. If the bleeding does not go away within a few days see your dental team to ask for their advice.