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You’ve probably heard about plaque before–especially if you’ve ever visited a dentist–but do actually know what it is? Do you know what you can do to keep plaque at bay, stop it from forming, and the effect plaque can actually have on your smile?

Plaque is a soft substance that builds up on your teeth. Plaque typically forms when there’s an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth. If there’s more bad bacteria in your mouth than good, plaque can actually grow faster. The process is also accelerated if you don’t brush and floss consistently, or if you have an unbalanced diet. If you don’t remove plaque from your smile, it will harden into tartar, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.

It takes around 24 hours for plaque to harden into tartar. Sadly, tartar can’t be removed without visiting a dental professional. If tartar isn’t removed, it could spread below the gum line, which will make it more difficult to remove and leave you more vulnerable to periodontitis.

If you prevent plaque buildup, you should be able to avoid most of these issues. As you probably know, there are a few things you can do to avoid plaque buildup. For instance, you should visit your dentist regularly—typically once every six months—and remember to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. We also recommend including crispy foods like apples, carrots, and celery in your diet. Foods like these will naturally clean your smile.

Finally, please remember to schedule regular checkups with our dentist, Dr. David Wilhelm. We’ll be happy to examine the health of your teeth and gums and offer you personalized advice. If you’re interested in learning more, or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact Newport Dental Arts OC at 949-752-1210. We’re eager to hear from you.