307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

How Well Do You Know Dental Plaque?

You encounter it every day, perhaps most noticeably when you first wake up in the morning. Still, you might not know dental plaque as well as you should, particularly what it’s made of and why it’s a threat. Hopefully, you know enough to brush and floss plaque off of your teeth at least twice every day. Yet, by understanding the dangers of unmitigated plaque buildup, you might better understand the need for plaque control beyond just brushing and flossing.

Strength in Numbers

Besides the food debris and saliva that most people recognize as the components of plaque, the sticky biofilm is also comprised of hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. Not many organisms exhibit the concept of “strength in numbers” as well as bacteria do—when they accumulate under gathering plaque, these microbes can overwhelm your teeth and gums. Some produce acids that weaken teeth and lead to tooth decay; others incite inflammation in your gum tissues, causing gum disease.

What is Tartar?

The reason behind brushing and flossing your teeth is to control the buildup of plaque. The reason behind doing so at least twice a day or more is because plaque forms constantly, and can harden if not removed in time. Calcified plaque, or tartar, cannot be removed with your toothbrush and floss. If it develops, then it will remain (along with the bacteria it protects) until you attend a dental checkup and cleaning.

Protecting Your Teeth

The best defense against tartar is to remove plaque before it calcifies. The best defense against plaque is to regularly practice good hygiene, including brushing and flossing, as well as visiting your dentist routinely. During your checkup and cleaning appointment, we will not only more thoroughly clean your teeth of plaque and tartar, but also observe your teeth and gums for signs of developing issues. If prevention fails, then early treatment will be the most effective way to protect your teeth from tooth decay or gum disease.


At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.