Bacterial plaque. Development. Prevention.
Often referred to as dental plaque, bacterial plaque is a yellowish-white, soft, highly adherent substance that deposits on hard surfaces in the oral cavity (teeth, fixed or removable prosthetic restorations, piercings, dental implant posts).
At least 30 bacterial species can be identified in any given plaque sample, so it can be said that biofilms colonizing dental surfaces are among the most complex biofilms that exist in nature.
Bacterial plaque formation
Composed mainly of salivary proteins, bacteria, food residues and toxins, plaque is constantly growing, colonizing more and more dental surfaces.
Sugar in the alimentation is the source of food and bacterial multiplication which, once developed, produce acids that will cause loss of dental health and integrity.
Bacterial plaque does not cause dental and periodontal destruction as long as the body’s defense capacity is not exceeded.
Bacterial plaque is the determining factor for:
Tartar – a mineral-organic deposit that adheres to the tooth surface, prosthetic work or orthodontic appliances, and is produced by mineralization of bacterial plaque.
Caries – plaque found on dental units is the attachment point for cariogenic bacteria. Without rigorous hygiene after each meal, the environment created in the oral cavity allows bacterial growth. These will eliminate acids that will gradually destroy the tooth enamel, causing demineralization and subsequently caries.
Gingivitis – gum inflammation, or gingivitis, is the main consequence of dental plaque deposition. The body, through its self-defense, will try to resist the bacterial attack. Due to the intense defensive activity, inflammation will be triggered in the gums. At this stage, with the help of a strict hygiene protocol carried out by the dentist, gingivitis can recede without leaving consequences.
Periodontitis – represents the most advanced stage of damage of the supporting structures of the teeth, when the destructive process also involves the bone. If gingival inflammation is not stopped, bacteria will colonize deep tooth surfaces, causing bone lesions. The bone will recede, the teeth become mobile and soon fall out of the arch. In addition, dental plaque that is not removed consistently and rigorously will solidify, resulting in tartar. This is much harder and therefore exponentially more aggressive to tooth and gum structures.
How can we remove plaque?
It is good to know that the plaque film can never be completely removed, that is why, besides personal hygiene, the intervention of the dentist, every 6 months, is indispensable.
By reducing the consumption of sweet foods and drinks, we can help the body in the antibacterial fight.
The personal hygiene protocol includes:
Careful brushing of teeth after each meal, minimum 3 minutes. Brush from the gum to the tooth, as plaque is most likely to be deposited at the junction between these two elements.
Flossing helps to remove interdental plaque deposits. This area is prone to decay because the toothbrush cannot clean it properly.
Mouthwash disinfects both hard and soft tooth surfaces. Bacteria are found throughout the oral cavity, not just in the teeth.
Plaque is a constant in the oral cavity. It is found in absolutely everyone but manifests itself differently, depending on local factors and the attention paid to hygiene.
The cleaning maneuvers carried out in the dental surgery (oral cavity hygiene) as well as the post-procedure indications are individualized so that the beneficial effects are maximized.