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The effects of poor oral hygiene

October 13, 2009

Poor oral hygiene can lead to a large number of health concerns that can have life-altering consequences. Bacteria that naturally reside in the mouth form together, creating a sticky film known as plaque that coats itself onto the teeth.  Plaque isn’t made from food particles or sugars, so its formation isn’t something that can be avoided. Plaque forms quickly, sometimes immediately after cleaning the teeth.  Plaque is mostly harmless, but improper oral hygiene can lead to a build-up.  The build-up can then form acids through the conversion of sugar.  These acids can demineralize the tooth surface, weakening the enamel and creating dental caries. Plaque can also fossilize when mixed with certain chemicals found in saliva, creating calculus, or more commonly known as tartar.  Tartar can form above and below the gum line, creating a perfect breeding ground for even more bacteria, possibly leading to bad breath, receding gum line, and inflamed gingiva. Tartar is extremely resilient to normal brushing, and the only way to dislodge tartar from the teeth is via professional removal from your dentist or dental hygienist.  To do this, a blade-like device called a dental scaler is needed to effectively scrape the tartar off of the enamel. Avoiding your dental checkups gives tartar more time to negatively impact your teeth and gums, leading to a multitude of severe ailments with the possibility of tooth loss. Dental checkups are recommended every six months to avoid these health concerns, and daily oral hygiene practice is extremely important in keeping your mouth healthy and disease-free.