What is plaque and what causes it?

Plaque is often mentioned as one of the biggest villains when it comes to tooth decay but many of us don’t actually know that much about it.

What is plaque?

You can’t see or taste plaque, it is a colourless coating on our teeth that consists of bacteria and sugars. It’s not something that you can avoid completely as it is the result of the bacteria that is constantly forming and reforming in our mouths introduced by the food that we eat and the liquids that we consume. However, plaque that is not dealt with can become a real problem as it can harden into tartar if not removed daily – this is a mineral buildup that can sometimes be seen as a yellow or brown deposit at the gum line – and can lead to decay.

What does plaque do?

After we eat or drink, the acids from the plaque can begin to attack teeth – if this is allowed to continue, tooth enamel can break down and the result is that a cavity may form in the tooth and require dental work to correct the problem. If you don’t regularly remove plaque then it can also cause inflammation and irritation around the gum line of your teeth, including redness and bleeding, leading to gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth loss.

How can you prevent plaque?

While plaque is a pretty serious problem, it’s actually quite easy to prevent it from taking hold in your mouth by following a basic oral health routine:

–       Brush your teeth at least twice a day to make sure that you’re removing the bacteria that forms after meals. You might also want to brush your teeth after eating anything particularly sugary.

–       Cut back on sugary and starchy foods and sugary drinks.

–       Floss every day. This is an important part of a healthy mouth, as it will help to remove plaque from in between your teeth and under your gum line. These are the parts of your mouth that brushing alone may not reach.

–       Make sure you have regular check ups. There’s only so much we can do for our teeth alone so book regular appointments with your dentist for preventative dentistry and to keep an eye on the health of your mouth. Smile Pad has practices in London, Bristol, Chertsey and Salisbury – book an appointment with us for the new year for a great, healthy start to 2016.



We are pleased to inform all patients seeking dental treatment that our practices are, and will remain open to cater to all your dental needs and maintain your oral health. We are available should you need advice, urgent care, or simply wish to attend for any other dental treatment. Our practices operate under the strictest government guidance and coronavirus protocols. Your safety and the safety of your family remains our priority. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice.
+ +