Chances are, you’re familiar with the sticky feeling of dental plaque, which coats your teeth from time to time (usually after you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while). However, are you aware that this uncomfortable biofilm is made mostly of bacteria and is the main source for bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease? You may have been told from an early age to brush and floss your teeth to control harmful plaque, but understanding the threat can motivate you to ensure that your dental hygiene is up to par. Today, your Ankeny dentist, Dr. Hussong, explores a few of the germs that make dental plaque hazardous.
One of the most well-known oral bacteria is Streptococcus mutans, which is a main culprit in the formation of tooth decay. S. mutans consumes sugars and starches from your meals, converting them into lactic acid that depletes minerals from your teeth. Your tooth enamel, which surrounds and protects your teeth, relies on these minerals to remain strong. When acid attacks, enamel grows weak, and can expose your tooth to infection and decay.
Another bacterial menace that contributes to dental plaque is the germ Porphyromonas gingivalis, known for the destruction it can cause your gums. P. gingivalis germs manipulate your immune system’s inflammatory response and incite excessive inflammation in your gums. As the infection progresses, your gums become more noticeably red and swollen, and soon gum disease sets in. Experts believe the inflammatory microbe may even be partly responsible for chronic systemic illnesses, including heart disease and respiratory infections.
Protect Your Smile from Plaque with Help from Your Ankeny Dentist
To learn more about the dangers of dental plaque and how to increase your defenses against it, schedule an appointment with your Ankeny dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. Located in the 50226 area, we proudly welcome families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.