Where there are bacteria, there can be problems. Bacteria can be found on almost any surface and it mostly just exists, in most cases, without causing any worries. You may also have heard of helpful bacteria such as those in our digestive system that help break down food. Unfortunately, the healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth can be delicate and prone to problems. In the worst cases, bacteria are the prime culprit of a major dental scourge: plaque. Read on to find out more.
If there was ever an island in paradise perfect for bacteria, it's the inside of your mouth. Bacteria love to live in warm, moist, and sweet environments, and that describes the mouth perfectly. The sweet part of the equation has little to do with your diet, however. Rather, it has to do with the pH level inside your mouth.
No matter how well you take care of your teeth and gums, bacteria will be present and grow. That being said, frequent brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings can do a lot to reduce the impact of the bacteria on your teeth and gums.
The amount of bacteria in your mouth at any given time is also connected to the health of your immune system. Healthy immune systems constantly work to control the levels of bacteria in the mouth. Saliva also does its part by keeping the mouth flushed and fresh.
When bacteria reside in your mouth too long, it forms an acid that soon becomes plaque — a far more troublesome substance. Plaque is extremely sticky and can stubbornly cling to your teeth. When that happens, cavities and gum disease may not be far behind.
The longer plaque remains on your teeth, the greater the level of damage will be. While being more prone to decay is bad enough, it's the lasting and severe damage done to your gums that can really affect things in a big way.
Plaque often resides primarily at your gum line. If your teeth have receded even a tiny amount, the plaque will do a deep dive into your gum tissues and set up an infection. Infected gums can make you sick, but it's the lasting damage done to the bones in the gums and jaws that is the most serious. The gum disease caused by plaque can eventually cause your bones to deteriorate.
To find out how to avoid this sticky corrosive substance, speak to your dentist.