Plaque is a sticky, soft invisible film that forms on exposed surfaces of your teeth. The bacteria, which make up the plaque, react with sugars and starches in foods to produce an acid. It’s the acid that dissolves tooth enamel and begins the decaying process. After repeated acid attacks, and if plaque is not removed daily, the enamel eventually breaks down and decays – thus a cavity is formed.
The irritants in plaque also cause inflammation of the gums making them tender and prone to bleeding. This is the first stage of periodontal disease. If you don’t remove the soft plaque, it will mix with saliva and harden. Once this takes place, brushing will not take the film off your teeth and your dentist or dental hygienist must remove the tartar. To keep plaque under control, brush and floss at least twice a day. Visiting your dentist for regular examinations also play a large role in the prevention process.