Plaque is a problematic substance that can lead to an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Filled with bacteria, plaque is the result of oral bacteria colonizing after meals—especially after sugary or starchy foods have been consumed. Sugars and starches are oral bacteria’s source of food. If one practices proper oral hygiene, most plaque is removed by brushing and flossing. However, inadequate oral hygiene practices or diets high in sugar can lead to plaque buildup, which can harm your kid’s dental health. Since our pediatric dentists strive to prevent oral health problems, it is important to schedule regular kid’s dental cleanings and checkups along with helping your child establish healthy habits at home.
How Plaque Affects Oral Health
Plaque forms when bacteria colonize along the gum line. As this occurs, plaque will coat the gums and teeth. As a sticky, translucent substance, plaque may seem harmless but it is not. In fact, plaque buildup can inflame and irritate soft oral tissues—eventually leading to infection. Moreover, plaque buildup contributes to cavities because bacteria release acid as a byproduct when they feed and colonize. With time, exposure to acid weakens the enamel coating of teeth. Gum disease and tooth decay must be professionally treated and maintained with proper oral hygiene, otherwise, these conditions can greatly damage oral health and your child’s well-being.
Tips for Preventing Plaque Buildup
The first step for preventing the accumulation of plaque is to help your child establish a thorough oral hygiene routine. Like adults, children should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Patients should brush all of their teeth (front and back), the gums, and the tongue for at least two minutes. Children over the age of five should begin flossing at least once a day. Brushing helps remove plaque, and flossing cleans in between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. We encourage parents to monitor their family’s diets and try to eliminate sugary food whenever possible. Children should also visit our practice twice a year for checkups and cleanings. Receiving regular preventive care can help catch potential problems as soon as possible.
To schedule an appointment, call our family friendly team today.