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Did you know that tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body? And yet, it is also vulnerable to the effects of tooth decay. The culprit lies with plaque, a clear, sticky bacterial film which coats the teeth and gum line surfaces.

How does plaque work its destructive effects? Well, to begin, the mouth is a haven for bacterial colonies which feed on the sugars from the food and drinks you ingest. The bacteria produce acids unless you remove them through diligent daily brushing and flossing. The easiest way to control plaque formation is to remove it while it is still soft. As plaque hardens (which happens surprisingly quickly) if forms into tartar, or calculus, which will require removal with scaling instruments used by your dentist.

If plaque is allowed to buildup on your pearly whites, damage begins to ensue. As acids attack the tooth enamel the minerals in the enamel begin to diminish. As this happens, tiny holes form in the enamel allowing bacteria and acid to reach the dentin, a more sensitive layer of tooth under the enamel. Under the dentin lies the pulp of the tooth, containing blood vessels and nerves. As bacteria reaches the pulp, you will notice the effects. You may feel pain when you bite down, tooth sensitivity and persistent toothache. If your body fights the infection in the pulp it may create an abscess in the tooth, in the form of a pocket of pus.

You will want to avoid plaque’s destructive effects by brushing and flossing daily to clear the plaque while it is still soft. Limit snacking on sugary, starchy foods, and see your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings. If it is time for your next cleaning with Dr. Douglas Hauck, please call our dental team in Newport Beach, California at (949) 729.9950 today. Your smile will thank you!