Your mouth has its own microbiome full of healthy bacteria that break down food, help take resources to other parts of your body, and protect you from foreign substances. When food and excess sugar is left sitting in your mouth, it can create a host of unhealthy bacteria.
If this bacteria is left to its own devices, it will form into plaque which is a sticky, film-like substance that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Plaque can, generally speaking, be removed at home with good oral hygiene habits but it is impossible to reach all the surfaces of your teeth without a professional. However, if plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar (calculus) which can only be removed by special dental tools.
Having plaque or tartar on your teeth allows the unhealthy bacteria to burrow away into your teeth causing small holes called cavities to develop. Untreated cavities can put you at risk for the need for root canals, tooth extractions and make you more susceptible to developing periodontal disease (gum disease).
Cavities cannot always be recognized by the untrained eye and they don’t always cause pain, so it’s important to schedule regular dental visits at our Ashland office. Dr. Burneson recommends making an appointment every six months to ensure your teeth are plaque and tartar-free so that you can stay protected from cavities.