Understanding The Dangers Of Plaque Buildup

Tooth decay and gum disease are very different oral health concerns, but they do have one thing in common: They are often the result of plaque buildup. While a dental cleaning can remove this buildup, we’re limiting treatments to emergency care only. Fortunately, your El Paso, TX, dentists have a few ideas for limiting your plaque buildup from home!

The Causes of Plaque

What happens when we eat foods and consume beverages high in sugar or starch? Particles remain stuck on the teeth or trapped between them. These stray bits of sugar and starch make a great meal for harmful bacteria. As bacteria consume them, they boost the levels of oral acidity and then begin coating the teeth in a bacterial byproduct known as plaque. This sticky layer clings to the teeth and over time, hardens into tartar. While brushing and flossing limit the amount of plaque that can accumulate, these actions cannot remove the buildup once it forms, so the layers remain and begin to erode tooth enamel and inflame gum tissues, increasing the risks of tooth decay and gum disease.

The Link to Cavities and Gum Disease

The buildup weakens the outer enamel, the structure that protects the teeth. Bacteria then gains access to the sensitive inner layers of dentin, where a cavity forms, or eventually, the inner pulp, causing a tooth to become infected or abscessed. The buildup irritates and inflames gum tissue, leading to gingivitis and unless treated, the onset of gum disease. Untreated gum disease is linked to higher risks of tooth loss in adults. You need to take steps to reduce how much bacteria buildup can form on your teeth, helping your smile stay healthy until we can once again remove the buildup with routine dental cleanings.

Reducing Your Buildup

Fist, try to deprive harmful bacteria of easy meal by cutting back on foods high in sugar and starch, and beverages high in sugar. Avoid candies, chips, and sodas, instead try to choose more fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, nuts, whole grain crackers or pretzels, or low-fat yogurts. Drink more water, and be aware that energy drinks, sports drinks and even some fruit juices also contain high amounts of sugar.

You also need to brush and floss daily, which removes stray food particles and helps limit buildup. You should brush your teeth when you wake and again before bed for two minutes, and also floss each night before going to sleep. If you have any questions about keeping your smile safe and strong, then contact our team today.


At Sunny Smiles in El Paso, TX, our team wants to help you avoid serious plaque and tartar buildup. For more information on protecting the health of your smile, contact our N. Zaragoza dental practice by calling 915-849-9000.