Dental plaque is a biofilm, which develops naturally on the teeth and is usually a pale yellow. Dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria trying to attach themselves to the tooth's smooth surface.
The oral cavity contains the only known anatomical aspect of the human body that does not have a regulated system of shedding surfaces: the teeth. This allows microorganisms to adhere to the surface of teeth for long periods of time. These multiple species of bacteria become dental biofilm. Dental biofilm - dental plaque, is composed of about a thousand species of bacteria that take part in the complex ecosystems of the mouth. The natural, non-frequent regulation of tooth shedding plays a large role in making dental biofilm the most diverse biofilm in the human body despite the relatively small size of the teeth.
It has been estimated that 25,000 species of bacteria reside in the mouth and 1,000 species can exist as part of the dental biofilm ecosystem. These 1,000 species have the ability to change their environment through a series of biotic relationships.
At first, the biofilm is soft enough to come off by using the fingernail. However, it starts to harden within 48 hours, and in about 10 days the plaque becomes dental calculus (tartar), which is hard and difficult to remove.
Dental plaque can give rise to dental caries (tooth decay)—the localized destruction of the tissues of the tooth by acid produced from the bacterial degradation of fermentable sugars - and periodontal problems such as gingivitis and chronic periodontitis.
Calculus or tartar is a form of hardened dental plaque. It is caused by the continual accumulation of minerals from saliva on plaque on the teeth. Its rough surface provides an ideal medium for further plaque formation, threatening the health of the gingiva –gums and can lead to periodontitis.
Brushing and flossing can remove plaque from which calculus forms; however, once formed, it is too hard and firmly attached to be removed with a toothbrush. Calculus buildup can be removed with ultrasonic tools or unique hand instruments at your dentist’s clinic.
Dental caries, also known as tooth decay, cavities, or caries, is breakdown of teeth due to the activities of bacteria. The cavities may different of colors from yellow to black. Symptoms may include pain and difficulty with eating. Complications may include inflammation of the tissue around the tooth, tooth loss, and infection or abscess formation.
The bacteria break down the hard tissues of the teeth by making acid from food debris on the tooth surface. Simple sugars in food are these bacteria's primary energy source and thus a diet high in simple sugar is a risk factor. If mineral breakdown is greater than build up from sources such as saliva, caries will result. Risk factors include conditions that result in less saliva such as: diabetes mellitus, Sjogren's syndrome and some medications.] Medications that decrease saliva production include antihistamines and antidepressants among others. Caries are also associated with poverty, poor cleaning of the mouth, and receding gums resulting in exposure of the roots of the teeth.
Worldwide, approximately 36% of the population has dental caries in their permanent teeth. The World Health Organizations estimates that nearly all adults have dental caries at some point in time. In baby teeth it affects about 9% of the population. They have become more common in both children and adults in recent years. The disease is most common in the developed world and less common in the developing world due to greater simple sugar consumption.
regular cleaning of the teeth diet low in sugar and small amounts of fluoride brushing the teeth two times per day flossing between the teeth once a day fluoride may be from water, salt or toothpaste among other sources dentcoating after professional dental cleaning treating a mother's dental caries may decrease the risk in her children screening can result in earlier detection various treatments can be used to restore the tooth to proper function or the tooth may be removed