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Phone: 989-773-3560

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This Plaque Shouldn’t Go on the Wall

Plaque | Mount Pleasant, MI

Most of you hopefully have seen Groundhog Day, the great Bill Murray movie where he plays a local weatherman who has to travel to nearby Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, on his big day. Being a total curmudgeon, the Murray character is not thrilled. As punishment, he awakens every morning in his bed and breakfast in Punxsutawney to begin the previous day over…and over…and over. Until eventually he learns some important life lessons and moves on to a happy ending of the movie.

Dental plaque is kind of like that. Dr. Egger is constantly fighting dental plaque, removing it and its cousin, tartar, only to see it return so it can be removed again.

So, what is this mysterious substance that is the root of all dental evils?

What is plaque?

You may have a lovely plaque for being employee of the month at your workplace, but your teeth have earned way more plaque. Excuse the agreement issue there. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. Like it or not, our mouths are filled with bacteria, and they like to dine on the foods we eat. This includes the food particles that remain in our mouths after eating. Bacteria munch on this stuff and they create sugars and acids with their digestive aftermath. That is plaque.

Why is plaque bad?

Whether you got a participation plaque or not as a kid, dental plaque left alone shouldn’t make you feel good about yourself. Plaque is the beginning of every dental problem, short of a broken tooth. Every day when you brush and floss — if you do a diligent job — you remove the filmy plaque on your teeth. But if you’re a sloppy or infrequent brusher, then the plaque gets to stay and thrive. As the bacteria are getting their groove on they release acids. These acids attack the enamel on your teeth. This is dental decay, and is the beginning of a cavity.

Plaque left alone also hardens into tartar. Not the stuff you put on Crystal Lake trout, this is the off-white colored stuff that forms on your teeth, usually in certain spots like the inside bottom of your front teeth. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing: it can only be removed by a hygienist armed with a trusty dental pick.

Plaque and tartar left alone will eventually start to make their way under your gumline. This irritates the gums, kind of like that know-it-all person at work irritates you. This irritation is called gingivitis and it is the first step down that road known as gum disease. The end of that road is a place where you have lost all of your teeth, your gums are a diseased mess, and your jawbone is collapsing backwards. Ouch.

And to think, all of this started with innocent little plaque. Now you know the value of two minutes of brushing twice daily and flossing to get rid of the sticky stuff.

Keeping your twice-yearly appointments with Dr. Egger and his friendly staff are equally important. At these professional cleanings and exams, we remove any tartar that has built up, clean away any lingering plaque, and take inventory of your dental health. Every six months is about the time it takes for tartar to build up and cause issues if left alone.

Is it time for your next appointment with Dr. Egger? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.