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You hear of plaque when you visit your dentist. You get rid of plaque when you brush your teeth. You know that plaque can cause cavities. But do you know exactly what plaque is made of, how it causes cavities, and what it can become? Learn more about what plaque is and the harm it causes.


The mouth is full of bacteria. When food isn’t cleaned from teeth, this bacteria collects and feeds off of the sugars there. The collection of bacteria forms as a film on the teeth, becoming plaque. Plaque can’t be washed off by water, so if it isn’t brushed off of teeth, it can harden to become calculus (a.k.a. tartar)

What Plaque Does

When plaque bacteria feeds off of sugar, it releases acid. This acid eats away at teeth, eventually causing tooth decay. Plaque can also extend up to the gums and infect them, causing gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontal disease.

How To Prevent Plaque Formation

If you take daily steps to keep up dental hygiene, then you can prevent plaque formation and the damage it causes. Regularly brush and floss your teeth, use a fluoride toothpaste, and eat a healthy diet. Also, don’t forget six month check-ups with the dentist.