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What is plaque?

Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque is formed when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles and saliva to create a layer that adheres to the teeth and gums.

The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can erode the tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Plaque can also irritate the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. If left untreated, this can progress to gum disease, a serious condition that can result in tooth loss and other health problems.

Preventing plaque build-up is essential for maintaining good oral health. This includes practising good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks can also help prevent plaque.

If you do develop plaque, it’s important to have it removed as soon as possible to prevent it from causing further damage. Your dentist can remove plaque and tartar during a professional cleaning.

What are the symptoms of plaque?

In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms at all. However, as the plaque accumulates, you may experience bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, and visible deposits of yellow or brownish material on your teeth.

It’s important to visit your dentist regularly to catch plaque in its early stages when it’s easier to treat. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with us right away.

Speak to a dental professional today

Our dentists have all the experience, skill and technology required to diagnose and treat plaque. Arrange an appointment with our dental team at our central London dental clinic, situated on the prestigious Wimpole Street.

What causes plaque?

Plaque accumulation is directly related to poor oral hygiene and a diet high in carbohydrates.

How is plaque treated?

At Wimpole Street Dental Clinic, we offer a range of treatments for plaque, including professional cleanings, scaling and root planing, and dental sealants. The type of treatment that’s right for you will depend on the severity of the build-up and the location of the plaque.

Professional cleanings are the most common treatment for plaque. During this procedure, your dentist or hygienist will use special tools to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. Scaling and root planing may be necessary if the build-up is more severe or has progressed to gum disease.

Dental sealants can also be applied to the teeth to help prevent the build-up of plaque in hard-to-reach areas. These thin, plastic coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where plaque is most likely to accumulate.

Book an appointment with one of our dentists or dental hygienists if you’re worried about plaque. They will be able to advise you on potential causes of plaque and what can be done to prevent the build-up of plaque in the future.

Prof Christian Mehl

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

A certified implantologist and prosthodontics specialist with 20+ years in dentistry, I conduct clinical research, teach at University of Kiel, and contribute to implant system development. Recipient of the Camlog Research Award, I frequently publish and deliver global lectures.

Clinically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

When did we last update this page?

Our expert team continually update and research the latest news and techniques in dentistry, as such we regularly update our pages and have these clinically reviewed.

Current Version

July 21st 2023

  • Added “when did we last update this page” and author biography to the page.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

Previous Versions

October 2nd 2022

  • Page redesigned and updated to reflect change in address.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

30th August 2021

  • Original content created.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

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