Going to the pediatric dentist, you hear a lot of terms thrown around as the hygienists clean and the dentist examines. Unless you went to dental school, you may not be familiar with all of the words used – one of those being plaque. We hear a lot about dental plaque, but do you actually know what it is? Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry explains what dental plaque is and what you need to know about it.

Defining dental plaque

Whether you’re learning yourself or looking for a way to explain to your kids, dental plaque is a germ-filled film that is constantly forming on your teeth with a soft and sticky consistency. This bacteria-rich substance is made from leftover food particles and saliva that mixes in your mouth. It is always forming on the teeth, even after just brushing.

Fighting back against plaque

It’s important to teach your child healthy oral hygiene habits early on to prevent plaque from building up on their teeth. Plaque buildup hardens and becomes tartar and can lead to gingivitis. When untreated, gingivitis transforms into periodontitis, an infection that can cause receding gums and tooth loss.

While plaque cannot be completely avoided, its effects can.

  • Ensure your child is brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day, every day.
  • Flossing also helps prevent plaque buildup as it can remove food particles that a toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Have your child rinse their mouth with water after meals to wash out any remaining food particles.

If you have more questions about dental plaque or its effects, please reach out to Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry. We strive to provide oral health education and quality dental care to the Charlotte, NC area.