What is Plaque and How Does it Form on Your Teeth?

You may have heard Dr. Francois mention the word plaque, but what is it and how does it impact your child’s dental health?

To keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy and happy for life, here is our quick guide on plaque prevention.

What Causes Plaque?

To aid against plaque development, it’s essential to know what causes it to develop.

Our mouth has naturally occurring bacteria. Plaque forms when these bacteria mix with food and saliva and turn into a sticky substance on our teeth and along our gumline.

If plaque isn’t removed, it builds up and forms acids which break down the tooth’s enamel and can cause cavities, tartar, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth loss.

How Can I Tell if My Child Has Plaque?

Have you ever felt a “fuzzy” feeling on your teeth? It may be plaque!

It develops as a colorless to sometimes pale-yellow film and it can be hard to detect. Other signs of plaque may include bad breath, irritation, swelling of the gums, and ultimately tooth decay.

Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s the Difference?

When plaque isn’t removed, it hardens and becomes what is known as tartar. It’s basically calcified plaque which can cause staining and discoloration of the teeth.

If tartar forms along the gumline, it can irritate and damage the gums. Over time, this might lead to more progressive problems including gingivitis and gum disease.

Unfortunately, tartar makes it harder to properly brush and floss, which is why it must be removed with professional tools at your child’s pediatric dental office.

How Can Plaque Be Prevented?

While you can’t keep plaque from developing in your mouth, you can help minimize its impact.

Schedule Regular Cleanings with Your Pediatric Dentist

While practicing a good oral hygiene routine goes a long way in helping prevent plaque and cavities, it’s not the catch-all. It’s difficult to eliminate plaque from hard-to-reach nooks and crevices on the teeth, so it’s best to visit your child’s pediatric dentist every 6 months to help aid in early detection of tooth decay.

Floss, Floss, and Floss Some More!

Floss is a great dental tool to help keep your child’s smile healthy and happy. As soon as two teeth begin to touch, you can start flossing your child’s teeth at least once per day. Floss between the gum line and in between teeth to help clean areas a toothbrush can’t reach. Discover more flossing tips on our blog.

Brush Twice a Day

Brushing twice a day, or after every meal, benefits your child’s dental health. When teaching your children to brush, parents need to ensure younger children use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. We recommend using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush with the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance.

Stay Hydrated

Water is important for many reasons, but for your child’s oral hygiene it’s essential. Paired with brushing and flossing, drinking water is one of the easiest ways to clean your child’s mouth every sip!

Have More Questions About Your Child’s Dental Health?

Pediatric Smiles Dentistry of Liberty, Missouri is always here to help with more tips and tricks for developing a happy, healthy smile for life.

Give us a call for more information and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Francois at (816) 479-5562. We look forward to seeing you soon!