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So you get up in the morning, or you are headed off to bed at night, and you check your teeth. Maybe you just got back to the office after lunch and you want to check your smile before the big meeting. A quick glance shows no stains, and nothing between your teeth. So, no problem, right? Well, maybe there isn’t a piece of broccoli stuck between your incisors, but plaque is probably lurking on your teeth.

You can’t see plaque, but it is there, simply because it is constantly forming on your teeth. It doesn’t mean that you haven’t been brushing, it just forms. But just because it is pretty much invisible doesn’t mean that you can ignore it. In fact, you can’t ignore it.

Plaque is a sticky film and harbors the bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities. If left alone, it become tartar, which is much tougher and harder to remove. Sugars and starches are the source of acids which work with the bacteria in the plaque to attack your tooth enamel. Plaque and tartar can also collect along, under, and above the gumline. There, it leads to gum disease.

That’s enough of the bad news. The good news is that plaque and tartar are easy to fight! First, watch what you eat. Meals and snacks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates contribute to plaque. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and to clean the bacteria from your mouth. You should brush at least twice a day for two minutes, and floss before going to bed. When flossing, remember to clean between your teeth and below the gumline since your toothbrush may not reach those places well.

Finally, make an appointment to see Dr. Ira J. Dolnick at Dolnick and Associates in Niles, Illinois at least twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups. If it’s time for your next visit, give us a call at (847) 378-1644 to make an appointment.