Dental plaque is a biofilm or mass of bacteria that grows on surfaces within the mouth. It is a sticky colorless deposit at first, but when it forms tartar it is brown or pale yellow that is commonly found between the teeth, front of teeth, behind teeth, on chewing surface, along the gumline, or below the gumline cervical margins.Dental plaque is also known as microbial plaque, oral biofilm, dental biofilm, dental plaque biofilm or bacterial plaque biofilm.While plaque is commonly associated with oral diseases such as caries and periodontal disease (gum diseases), its formation is a normal process that cannot be prevented.
Dental plaque can give rise to dental caries (tooth decay) – the localised destruction of the tissues of the tooth by acid produced from the bacterial degradation of fermentable sugar – and periodontal problems such asgingivitis and periodontitis. Its progression and build up is what leads to oral problems, hence it is important to disrupt the mass of bacteria and remove it daily. Plaque control and removal is achieved with correct tooth brushing and use of interdental aids such as dental floss and interdental brushes.
The good news is, a safer, more natural (and cheaper) form of mouthwash may be sitting in your kitchen cupboard. Researchers formed a study including participants with existing periodontal disease, and changed their diet to one emphasizing veggies, fruits, whole grains, potatoes, beans, peas, lentils and spices, with water as the preferred beverage. Researchers asked the participants to maintain their regular oral hygiene patterns, and studied the results. They found that eating healthier appeared to strengthen oral health.
We’ve all been told to stay away from sugar because it rots our teeth, but scientists are now finding that other foods have an impact on our oral health. Researchers found that rinsing with green tea strongly inhibited the growth of the plaque bacteria on teeth within minutes. Just seven minutes after swishing with green tea, the number of harmful bacteria in the plaque scraped from participants’ teeth was nearly cut in half!
When researchers tested chlorhexidine against green tea, they found that green tea worked better in plaque reduction, without all of the harmful chemicals that mouthwash contains. Green tea is clearly the safer choice when it comes to health. Consider ditching your mouthwash full of chemicals for a safer and more effective way to practice oral health.