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Plaque - Definition of Plaque

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Updated April 13, 2009

Definition:

Plaque is a soft, sticky, and colorless deposit that is continually forming on our teeth and gums. Often undetected, plaque attacks the teeth and gums with the acid it produces from bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria uses the sugars from foods and beverages along with saliva, to thrive and multiply. This acid attack breaks down the tooth's enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and ending with varying degrees of tooth decay. Plaque is also responsible for gum disease and contributes to bad breath.

Plaque is controlled by brushing and flossing daily at home and during regular cleaning from your dentist or dental hygienist. Reduce plaque by limiting sugar and carbohydrates in your diet.

Plaque accumulates in hard to reach areas of the mouth. If it is not removed daily, it begins to harden into a calcified substance called calculus, also known as tartar.

Also Known As:

"Sugar Bugs" is often used to describe plaque to children

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