Dental plaque is a multifaceted microbial community mainly made up of bacteria among other inorganic compounds (read phosphorus and calcium). It is believed that dental plaque harbors at least 400 different types of bacteria such as the filaments, rods, eukaryotic cells, cocci, and cytoskeleton – a very complex bacterial cell. Plaque in itself isn’t as serious since it is a simple soft deposit on the gum and teeth and which can easily be removed by brushing and flossing your mouth. However, it is the phosphorus and calcium (the inorganic compounds) that make matters worse.
These compounds, which mostly come from saliva, if left on your teeth makes the otherwise soft plaque hard which needless to mention, becomes very difficult to brush or floss off. The process of hardening the plaque is known as calcification, and the ensuing hard layer is technically known as calculus. This layer leaves a very hard and rough surface over your tooth, which as a result provides an ample platform for the multiplication of more plaque.
With that being said, the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis to get rid of Dental plaque can never be overemphasized enough. By doing this, the plaque will remain soft and will not harden to become calculus. The result of poor dental hygiene is double. As mentioned, the calculus provides an ample platform for new plaque to form and multiply. Note that the more plaque that is deposited in your teeth, the bigger the area of calcification on the surface of your teeth, creating an even wider platform for more Dental plaque. This is because it turns into a self-feeding and self-sustainable cycle.
Still on point, it is the same prime environment that becomes also very attractive to other types of infections and bacterial species. Further other bacterial species are always engrossed to the natural bacteria found in dental plaque, thereby making this a vicious cycle. These other bacteria species start to accumulate after around 3 days of uninterrupted plaque is left on the teeth, reason enough to brush and floss your teeth daily. Once a week passes on and the bacteria are still undisturbed, a third set of bacteria is attracted to the microbial community, a set which is more bothersome than the primary and secondary bacteria, and the vicious cycle continues.
Simply put, poor dental hygiene is a welcome environment for all types of bacteria. Note that poor dental hygiene does not only threaten the wellbeing of your gums and teeth, there is reason to believe that your oral hygiene also has a direct impact in other health issues. Stroke, asthma, heart disease and even cancers, all which are life-threatening health diseases, can result from poor dental hygiene as they contain the same cells as those found in dental plaque.
The only guaranteed way to be safe is to ensure you brush your teeth very regularly, if possible after every meal, avoid sugary foods and drinks, and more importantly, schedule a visit to the dentist at least twice every year for a regular and thorough dental checkup.