What Causes Tooth Plaque and What Can You Do About It?

what causes tooth plaque build up

There are many risks that are associated with dental plaque buildup. It is important to know what these risks are so that you can take measures to avoid them. Bacteria, sugary foods, and saliva are all causes of plaque buildup. However, there are also some hidden risks associated with this condition, and you need to know what you can do to avoid them. To avoid dental plaque buildup, you should brush your teeth and floss daily.

Sugary foods

Sugary foods cause tooth plaque buildup and decay because of the bacteria in the mouth that feed on sugar. These bacteria produce acids that erode tooth enamel. Sugary foods also contribute to gingivitis, a disease where the gums start to recede. And as plaque continues to accumulate on the teeth, it can lead to tooth decay and even gum disease.

While sugar itself doesn’t cause much damage to teeth, it is a necessary part of a chain of events that results in tooth decay. When sugar reaches your mouth, the harmful bacteria produce acids that attack your tooth enamel. Thankfully, saliva contains minerals that help protect your teeth from acid damage, but repeated acid attacks can cause the enamel to break down and cause cavities.


Saliva plays a key role in promoting plaque biofilm formation. This biofilm is composed of proteins that allow free-floating bacteria to attach to the tooth surface. These bacteria are the pioneer settlers of a new biofilm and lay the groundwork for other bacteria to attach to them. This biofilm matures in three days, largely dependent on saliva for nutrients and waste removal.

Saliva is a clear, lubricating fluid that contains many different substances, including water, mucus, proteins, bacteria, and viruses. It is also a rich source of enzymes and electrolytes. Saliva is produced by the body in varying amounts throughout the day, with the majority of production occurring in the late afternoon.


Although carbohydrates provide our bodies with energy, they can also cause cavities and tooth plaque build up. The reason is that when we eat certain foods, they quickly transform into sugar and become sticky. This sticky substance then adheres to the teeth and causes plaque. Fortunately, you can lower your risk of cavities and tooth plaque by cutting back on carbohydrate intake.

In one study, researchers measured the changes in dental plaque pH after eating two different carbohydrate solutions. They compared the changes in plaque pH at 12 minutes after drinking the sugary solutions. While the amount of carbohydrate in each solution was different, the pH of dental plaque was reduced similarly in both solutions.


The bacteria that cause tooth plaque build up are responsible for a host of symptoms, including tooth sensitivity, gum inflammation, and tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque elaborate a variety of compounds, which cause the body to develop an inflammatory response. In some patients, this response can lead to pocket formation, loosening of teeth, and even abscesses. Patients may also experience bleeding gums and bad breath. Most patients do not seek a microbiologic diagnosis, but in some cases, a dark-field microscopic examination may reveal P gingivalis or T denticola. Enzyme assays have been developed for these bacteria.

The bacteria responsible for tooth plaque build up are primarily acid-producing. These species include S mutans, Lactobacilli, and Lactobacillus. These organisms colonize retentive sites, which are areas in the mouth that are not well-buffered by saliva. People who eat a high amount of sucrose tend to have lower pH values, which favors the development of plaque. pH levels within the 5.0-5.5 range are optimal for the solubilization of tooth mineral, and hence, aciduric bacteria can colonize these sites.


Tooth plaque can be prevented by following a proper oral hygiene routine. Avoiding high-carbohydrate and sugary foods is one of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth clean and plaque-free. Even though you can’t completely avoid eating these foods, eating fewer of them will help you avoid the buildup of plaque on your teeth.

The first step in preventing plaque is to remember to brush your teeth twice a day and to floss regularly. Plaque is a white, sticky film that is caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth. This bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates in your food and combine with them to form plaque. This film can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing will help eliminate the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.


Flossing is important to avoid tooth plaque buildup, but it can also be a cause of gum disease. If you’re not regularly flossing, plaque and bacteria will collect on your gums and cause inflammation. Over time, this irritation will lead to gingivitis, a form of periodontal disease.

Plaque is difficult to prevent, but if you follow a proper oral hygiene routine, you can reduce the amount of plaque that forms on your teeth. Certain foods also contribute to plaque buildup, such as cake, soft drinks, and milk.

Poor dental hygiene

Tooth plaque is a buildup of bacteria that lives on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can damage the tooth enamel and lead to various dental problems such as gingivitis and cavities. It also breaks down the bone that supports the teeth. The best way to get rid of plaque is to practice good oral hygiene. Even though everyone has some amount of plaque, people with unhealthy diets tend to have more plaque.

The bacteria found in plaque are transported to the lungs by the air we breathe. They can make people more prone to various chronic diseases, including pneumonia. Bacteria from the mouth can also colonize lung tissues during normal breathing. Luckily, maintaining good oral hygiene is a simple habit that can be achieved by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. If you cannot manage to do this on your own, consider visiting a dentist for regular cleanings. This way, a professional can clean areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush.

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