Bacterial plaque and tartar

Placca batterica e tartaro nero

What is bacterial plaque

Bacterial plaque is a substance that forms on the surface of the teeth, composed of bacteria, food debris and mineral salts. It appears as a coating that strongly adheres to the surface of the teeth.

The formation of dental plaque is a fairly complex phenomenon. Initially, it begins to accumulate on the surface of the teeth in the form of a thin film formed by glycoproteins and antibodies, called biofilm, When the latter begins to take consistency, it promotes the adherence of bacteria in the mouth.

In the meantime, food residues, along with other bacteria, also begin to adhere to the biofilm until a rather thick film is formed: the actual bacterial plaque.

Tartar formation

If the bacterial plaque is not removed, due to the precipitation of mineral salts contained in the saliva, it mineralizes, turning into tartar. Tartar is much more visible than bacterial plaque: it initially takes on a yellowish color, then turns brown and finally black. Black tartar is the one that is deposited under the gums.

Tartar can cause very serious damage to the gums: it causes inflammation of the gums and, if not eliminated, can promote the onset of periodontitis.

Fighting dental plaque and tartar

The best action to combat bacterial plaque is to remove it. In order to do this, proper oral hygiene is necessary. It is very important to brush your teeth in the correct way; the movement of the toothbrush should not be horizontal but vertical, inclined 45 degrees, in order to allow the removal of plaque accumulated in the gum line. Complete oral hygiene with dental floss that allows the removal of bacterial plaque and food residues in the spaces between the teeth, where the toothbrush cannot reach.

Even in cases of proper oral hygiene, it is recommended to periodically perform a professional teeth cleaning at a dentist or hygienist.

The best medicine to combat tartar is prevention through proper oral hygiene. As in the case of bacterial plaque, we must engage in daily oral hygiene and perform periodic sessions (at least once a year) of professional teeth cleaning. If we take care of our mouth, tartar will not form!

Once formed, tartar cannot be removed by home oral hygiene, but only by professional dental cleaning using manual and ultrasonic instruments. That is why prevention is important.