Cosmetic Dentistry SA

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#12, 7th Avenue, Village Medical Center, Block D, Parktown North, 2193, Johannesburg

011 268 2142

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What is Plaque?

Plaque Buildup

Plaque is a sticky, colourless mucous film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. It is the main cause of cavities and gum disease, and can harden into calculus if not removed daily.

Recognizing Plaque?

Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths.Approximately 90-95% of plaque is bacteria. These bacteria use materials found in our diet and saliva to grow. Plaque causes cavities after prolonged periods of attack from the acids found in plaque. With repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel can break down and a cavity may form. Plaque that is not removed can also irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an inflammatory disease of the gums resulting in:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Bleeding


While in Periodontitis there is loss of connective tissue attachment i.e. the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth is destroyed.

The human oral cavity is also called the human oral microbiome. This is because the human oral cavity contains several environments at any given moment that could vary from tooth to tooth. Additionally it has been estimated that the number of bacteria that reside in the mouth is about 25,000 species of bacteria.

Prevention of plaque buildup?

It’s easy to prevent plaque buildup. Make sure to:

  • Brush thoroughly twice a day to remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from in between your teeth and under your gums, where your toothbrush does not reach
  • Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks
  • Visit us regularly for cleanings and dental examinations