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With proper care most people can count on having their teeth last a healthy lifetime. A healthy smile hinges on healthy teeth and gums. To keep them healthy, you will want to keep the destructive effects of plaque away. Plaque is that sticky bacterial film that coats your teeth and gums—just take a moment and run your tongue along the back bottom of your teeth. If you can feel a slightly rough surface, you are likely feeling plaque. This bacterial film has the ability to slowly destroy tooth enamel. This is no small feat, as tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. So how exactly does plaque accomplish this?

Acids – first, the mouth is home to colonies of bacteria. These bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars in the foods you eat and drink. If not removed daily by brushing and flossing, plaque will harden in a relatively short period of time into tartar. This is why daily removal is crucial. And once plaque has hardened into tartar, it requires scaling instruments to remove, by a dental professional.

Decay – decay occurs in teeth when the enamel is breached. Acid in bacteria erodes the enamel until tiny holes appear. This means the enamel is losing minerals.  Now the holes allow acid to reach the sensitive dentin layer beneath. Next, it will reach the pulp of the tooth which houses blood vessels and nerves. The result? Pain when you bite down, tooth sensitivity or even a toothache. At this stage, your body will fight the infection by creating an abscess (or a pocket of pus in the pulp) requiring a root canal.

Don’t let plaque destroy your healthy smile; you serve on the front line of daily defense with careful brushing and flossing. As your dental team, we work at your side, keeping hardened plaque from your teeth and gum line with regular six month dental cleanings.

If it is time for your next cleaning with one of our skilled dentists, Dr. Alex S. Abernathy or Dr. Lauren Santarufo, please call our Lakeland Dental Care team in Jackson, Mississippi at 601-981-8166 today. Your smile will thank you.