Research has shown that plaque must be controlled in order to combat gum disease and periodontal disease. Furthermore, by reducing plaque, dental decay can be kept to a minimum.
Couple a lifetime of good plaque control and total oral hygiene and dental decay becomes almost nonexistent. Reduced plaque also has very pronounced positive effect on plaque build-up in the arteries, with beneficial consequences on cardiovascular disease and heart attacks as well as on diseases states and health status in general.
Total Oral Hygiene means good Total Health!
STAGE 1: WHAT IS PLAQUE?
Plaque is a clear, sticky film, an invisible layer of microorganisms growing in colonies, which adheres to the surfaces of teeth, gum tissues, dental restorations, and even the tongue – and then further “into” the body: the arteries, the heart, etc.. It is so adherent, that it can not be washed or rinsed off, but must be mechanically removed.
Plaque contains a variety of bacteria, some also producing strong acids, that can cause dental decay (cavities/caries) by dissolving the minerals that make up the tooth enamel (tiny holes appear that get bigger and bigger until there is a cavity), contribute to calculus (tartar) formation, and initiate the inflammatory response associated with periodontal disease, some producing dangerous and poisonous toxins.
There are different stages of plaque formation: The first stage is the Pellicle Formation, subdivided in turn into four stages:
- The surfaces are bathed with salivary fluids
- Salivary Glycoproteins (positively and negatively charged) adsorb to the surfaces.
- This probably occurs due to ionic interaction.
- The Glycoproteins lose their solubility
- The Glycoproteins become altered by the action of the bacterial enzymes
The next stage is the Bacterial Colonization. At this stage the bacteria borne in the saliva are brought in contact with the organic dental pellicle, either physically or more often through some type of chemically complicated interaction.
Protein molecules on the bacterial cell surfaces recognize and link to the pellicle glycoproteins – and plaque is formed! The Final stage is the Maturation of Plaque. As plaque matures it increases in mass and thickness. Its microbiological composition also changes. Mature plaque is potentially more pathogenic.
WHAT IS THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF PLAQUE?
Plaque is composed of glycoproteins from the saliva, various bacteria and bacterial metabolism products and minerals and their ions.
PLAQUE FORMS QUICKLY
Plaque forms again soon after it is removed and effective plaque control will keep it to a minimum. It takes approx. 21 days for plaque to completely mature.
That’s why you are encouraged to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth 4-5 times a day, plus daily flossing, to prevent plaque from maturing into calculus/tartar.
IN REGARDS TO PLAQUE NO ONE IS CREATED EQUAL – NOT EVEN THE SAME MOUTH!
The rate plaque forms and what it’s made of, varies from individual to individual. In fact, it varies in different parts of the same mouth.
Studies have shown that plaque affects each of us differently – some are more susceptible to the bacterial components in the plaque than others. That explains why individuals have different healing responses to periodontal treatment.
WHAT’S THE FIRST SIGN OF A PLAQUE ATTACK?
A frequent warning sign is when the edge of the gums next to the teeth, become reddened and inflamed, and bleed when touched. This early stage is known as Gingivitis and takes three weeks to form when all oral hygiene measures are suspended.
Gingivitis is a reversible condition. With diligent flossing and tooth brushing, Gingivitis usually disappears. Left untreated, it can progress into periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is defined as the formation of pockets (loss of gum attachment to the teeth) and the loss of bone that supports the teeth. Periodontal disease is a chronic disease that can result in tooth loss.
In fact, periodontal disease is the main reason adults have teeth removed, as well as many other serious disease like heart attacks, Cancer and many other (inflammatory) diseases!