How Plaque & Calculus Form
Tooth loss and gum disease don’t just happen overnight. They are the result of a process of deterioration that is conducted by busy bacteria in your mouth. These harmful bacteria colonies are fueled by sugars and other food particles that cling to your gums, tooth surfaces, and to the spaces between your teeth. The waste products of these bacteria become harmful to teeth and bone.
Plaque is a virtual life form. It consists of a “biofilm” of active bacteria of numerous kinds that cling to your teeth (usually at the gum line). This plaque will grow until it becomes a visible, yellow ring.
Plaque bacteria converts sugars into acids that will do four things: break down your tooth enamel, and bone, and harm your gum tissue, and cause an unpleasant odor to proceed out of your mouth (bad breath!)
When plaque is allowed to do its work long enough undisturbed, it can harden into “calculus.” Calculus becomes more closely and firmly attached to your teeth to the point that ordinary brushing will no longer remove it. You have to pay a visit to a dental professional to get it off.
Which Foods Harm Your Dental Hygiene?
There are a lot of factors in maintaining good dental hygiene long term. These include using a proper toothbrush, flossing daily, using antiseptic mouth rinse, not smoking or drinking excessively, and seeing your dental provider for a checkup once or twice every year.
But watching your diet is easily one of the most important things you can do to reduce plaque and calculus and keep your mouth healthy. In general, reduce sugar, carbohydrate, and starch intake. Sticky sugars like those found in toffee, some varieties of chocolate, and certain fruits are even more dangerous to your dental health.
When you consume sugar, it must be broken down. And when this happens, your oral pH level drops during “de-mineralization.” “Re-mineralization” must then occur to repair the damage. But if you constantly consume sugars nonstop, then there is little to no time for this necessary repair work to be carried on efficiently.
Acids found in fruit juices, vinegar, and soda also lower pH levels and accelerate cavity formation. Consuming such a drink now and then is not necessarily a problem, but doing it all the time creates big problems for your teeth and gums. Eating ice may also harm your teeth by scraping away enamel or even chipping them.
Healthy dietary practices for your dental hygiene include: drinking lots of water, eating foods high in vitamins and minerals, and consuming foods like apples, raw carrots, and celery sticks that can scrape food off your teeth to clean them without harming the enamel. Sugar-free and dental chewing gums can also help by stimulating saliva, which will help kill off bacteria and clean off teeth.
Eating healthy, brushing and flossing every day, and seeing a dental professional regularly and for dental emergencies serve top keep your mouth in good health. For key advice on maintaining dental health or to schedule a checkup, contact periodontist Dr. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, Florida, today!