Some Facts About Plaque

Some Facts About Plaque

Some Facts About Plaque

Some Facts About Plaque

Some Facts About Plaque

Most children love sweet treats. Whether they're eating cake at a birthday party or enjoying a popsicle on a hot day, the consumption of sugary foods is almost a given. The plaque that forms on their teeth is just as inevitable. There's no such thing as avoiding this substance altogether, but sugar and starch can accelerate its growth.

The key is not avoiding plaque but getting rid of it on a regular basis. Teaching children effective methods for brushing their teeth regularly is just the start. Good dental hygiene can help counteract the effect that sugary snacks have on your children's teeth and safeguard their mouths against complications.


Plaque Formation

Developing plaque on teeth is a common human experience. Plaque forms when the naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth combine with food or drink particles. The acid from the bacteria is necessary to break down the food, but if allowed to linger, the acid can also affect the teeth. The result is a film on the surface and between the gaps of the teeth. It may feel rough or sticky, depending on the nature of the food consumed and how much of it builds up.


Helping children understand the importance of regular brushing is a vital factor in keeping excessive plaque formation at bay. They may not enjoy the daily ritual of brushing their teeth in the morning and again before bedtime, but talking about the reason the practice is necessary may help motivate them. 


Possible Complications

When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, it can turn into tartar. At this stage, professional intervention is necessary to get the buildup off the teeth. The acid in tartar breaks down the enamel on the teeth, making your children's mouths more susceptible to gum disease or tooth decay. If it is left too long, cavities are more likely to occur.


In addition to regularly scheduled cleanings, there are other times when you should contact your children's dentist. An emergency appointment may be necessary if they experience certain symptoms:


  • Persistent toothache

  • Increased sensitivity 

  • Difficulty with chewing

  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums

  • Swelling around the mouth or jaw

  • Loose or chipped tooth

  • Consistent bad breath


Dental pain and other complications are not things you want to ignore. It's OK to ask questions about something that turns out to be nothing to worry about, especially when the alternative is risking that the issue will get worse if not treated in a timely manner.


Buildup Prevention

Childhood is the best time to build healthy habits. If you can establish a good routine with your children before complacency has time to set in, they are more likely to have a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Visual reminders can be a useful way to keep track of dental hygiene practices. Post a chart in the bathroom your children use most frequently that helps them see their progress clearly. Before you hang the chart, explain why each habit is important:


  • Morning brushing removes the plaque that has settled overnight

  • Bedtime brushing gets rid of any food and drinks consumed throughout the day

  • Using mouthwash as directed kills the bacteria that contribute to the formation of plaque

  • Daily flossing cleans the spaces between the teeth that the toothbrush can't reach

  • Choosing healthy food lowers the amount of plaque that forms by keeping unnecessary sugars and starches out of your mouth

  • Chewing sugarless gum is a good backup after a meal during the day


As a parent, you can model these habits for your children. They look to you for guidance, and anything they see you doing is more likely to stick as a normal behavior they should emulate. It's also essential that you ensure they are scheduled for routine dental cleanings to catch the plaque buildup that brushing and flossing inevitably miss. During these appointments, the dentist can also check for issues with the teeth and propose corrections before any problems get out of hand.


It's easy to say yes to sweet treats. The challenge is taking the necessary action to counteract the potential effects of sugar and starch on your children's teeth. Proper hygiene doesn't just happen automatically. It's a habit that you and your children can build together. Once they understand the importance of regular brushing and flossing, they can be an integral part of cleaning plaque off their teeth. These practices, combined with regular cleanings with Pediatric Dental Group, set them up for success. Call or fill out the online form to register your children for our services.

For more tips on getting rid of plaque on your children's teeth, contact Pediatric Dental Group at our offices in Honolulu and Lihue, Hawaii. Call Honolulu: (808) 593-8828 or Lihue: (808) 245-2131 to schedule an appointment today.

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