Plaque is soft deposits consisting of aggregates of bacteria in a protein matrix that tends to form immediately after brushing. If it is allowed to accumulate as a result of infrequent brushing or inadequate brushing, it leads to tartar deposits which are chalky yellow, brown or black depending on the staining, and for how long it has been there! The main symptoms of gum disease are the bleeding gums, bad smell and visible as red swollen gums instead of normal thin, (knife edge like) pinkish appearance. If left untreated at this stage, it progresses to chronic gingivitis with scale/tartar deposits causing the destruction of the collagen fibres supporting the tooth. If the disease is left untreated, it causes destruction of the periodontal ligament fibres the bones loss. Thus, the disease process follows a vicious cycle and increases in the severity of the destruction of the bone and more tartar deposits with time. Ultimately, the tooth is lost as a result of the destruction of the underlying bone.
Tatar is formed as a result of calcification of food debris Thus, plaque and Tartar leads to the gum disease and ultimately periodontal disease (tissues supporting the tooth like bone and ligaments). It needs to be removed at the clinic from time to time usually 6 months. Hence 6 monthly checkups are advisable for both adults and children. It may be even earlier in some physically challenged people like autistic kids, people suffering from diseases like Down syndrome or autism and for people where manual dexterity is compromised, such that they do inadequate and or ineffective brushing leading to Tartar deposits and gum disease.
It may be noted that once tartar is formed it cannot be removed by brushing. Sometimes people brush vigorously damaging the dental tissues and removing the top enamel layer of teeth which compounds problems by causing sensitivity. In such a case sometimes half-moon like cavities might be formed along the tooth- gum margin. These cavities also need filling. If left untreated, the disease process enters the apex of the root of the tooth causing severe pain. The only solution in such a case is root canal therapy or extraction.
If the teeth are not professionally cleaned, it results in more hard deposits and bone loss. Ultimately tooth is lost as a result of the gum disease. Thus, it is very essential to have teeth cleaned every 6-12 months in spite of brushing and flossing teeth which are routine daily procedures.
Brushing Advice: Brush twice a day with soft tooth brush and floss once a day before tooth brushing. While brushing, keep the bristles at angle of 45 degree towards the gums and gently brush in down upward strokes for the lower teeth and reverse (up- downwards for the upper teeth). Cover 2 teeth at a time and use 5-8 strokes using to and fro motion. It ensures optimum removal of plaque. Ideally we should brush after every meal. Ask for the demo at the clinic.
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