How Does Dental Plaque Harm The Teeth


While they may look tough and sturdy, the teeth still need proper care for them to stay healthy and perform their function properly.

Frankly speaking, brushing the teeth—even when done daily—is not enough to keep them in top shape. There are hard-to-reach places that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.

When these places are not cleaned thoroughly, plaque can build up. To avoid plaque from causing damage, According to Dr Dennis Tan (dentist), a dentist who can perform teeth scaling and polishing.

How does dental plaque harm the teeth?

Dental plaque is an acidic, sticky substance that naturally forms in the mouth and coats the teeth with a film-like residue that gives a “fuzzy” sensation when felt with the tongue. Plaque is produced when the bacteria in the mouth feed on carbohydrates and sugars as food is broken down by the teeth.

When plaque is not removed, it can start to accumulate in the crevices or the surface of the teeth. Plaque is colourless, so when you find a discolouration on a tooth’s surface that looks yellowish or off-white, then this is already hardened plaque, or what is more popularly known as tartar.

Tartar cannot be removed by just brushing the teeth or flossing. It will need the specialisation of a dentist to have it removed.

Dental plaque and tartar, if left untreated, can deteriorate the teeth’s health and result in:

•   Cavities

•   Gum disease

•   Infection

•   Tooth loss

How can we keep the teeth healthy and free from plaque?

It is important to practise good dental hygiene daily to remove plaque from teeth. Here are tips that you can do to keep your teeth healthy and plaque-free:

•   Brush your teeth — Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that has fluoride and gently brush your teeth for two minutes. It is recommended to brush every after a meal or at least twice a day.

 •   Consume foods that are healthy — Food and drinks that are high in carbohydrates and sugars are the type of foods that bacteria feed on which produce a lot of plaque. To avoid this, choose to eat and snack on healthier foods, such as fruit, raw vegetables, and plain yoghurt.

 •   Use a dental floss before brushing —  Food that gets stuck in between the teeth may not be removed by brushing. This can cause plaque to accumulate. Flossing can pluck food debris that are stuck and clean plaque between the teeth.

 •   Use mouthwash — Mouthwash can help prevent plaque and gingivitis.

 •   Visit the dentist — Regular dental checkups greatly help in keeping the teeth healthy. Dental procedures like scaling and polishing can effectively remove plaque and tartar from the teeth.

How does scaling and polishing help the teeth?

Scaling and polishing of the teeth are two dental procedures that normally go together to efficiently clean the teeth.

Scaling occurs before polishing. During this procedure, the dentist uses a sharp metal tooth for the gentle removal of plaque in places that a toothbrush fails to reach.

After getting all the plaque out of the way, a polishing paste is applied to the teeth to clean any micro debris that may have been left and give the teeth a smooth finish.

Giving you a whiter smile is an added bonus following a scaling and polishing procedure when done consistently over time.

What are the benefits of teeth scaling and polishing?

Aside from keeping the teeth and gums healthy, scaling and polishing has these added benefits:

 •   Bad breath removal

•   Lessens risk of developing heart diseases

•   Saves money

Bad breath removal. Having a buildup of plaque can give you bad breath from the bacteria that coats your teeth.

By removing tartar through scaling and polishing, you can be confident of having conversations without worrying about exhaling smelly breath.

Lessens the risk of developing heart disease. Some studies have discovered a link between gingivitis and other gum diseases that negatively impact the body’s cardiovascular functions.

Practising good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist to get scaling and polishing can lessen your risk of developing heart diseases that may be triggered or aggravated by diseases affecting your gums.

Saves money. Unhealthy teeth, just like any other sick organ in the body, can cost a hefty amount of money when needing treatment.

One of the best ways to prevent your teeth from eroding and getting damaged is to take good care of them by brushing and flossing daily and getting dental checkups at least twice a year at intervals of six months, so your doctor can remove any tartar from the teeth and give them a good and thorough cleaning.


Are there risks involved during teeth scaling and polishing?

Scaling and polishing of the teeth is generally a safe procedure. During the procedure, there may be minimal discomfort and pain felt, but a topical or local anaesthetic is normally applied to numb the treatment area.

There may also be some very minor bleeding and inflammation that can happen, although these after-effects are temporary and should clear out in a few days.

In rare cases, these risks may also occur:

•   Gum reattachment

•   Gum recession

•   Nerve damage

 There are patients who are more sensitive than others. If you know that your teeth and gums are sensitive, expect to feel some mild discomfort in the succeeding days after your procedure.

To help your teeth recover, stick to a soft food diet and skip hot or cold food and beverages for at least a week or until your teeth and gums no longer feel any sensitivity.

Medications to relieve pain may also be bought over the counter. Remember to floss and brush your teeth gently.

What to ask your dentist about the scaling and polishing procedure?

It is understandable that many people skip the dentist probably because they have very little pain tolerance due to extremely sensitive teeth and gums.

If this is your concern, it is best to let your dentist know about it, so they may apply methods that can put you at ease during your scaling and polishing procedures.

Ask questions about how to prepare for the procedure, what to expect, and aftercare tips.


Dennis Tan Dental Surgery – Dr Dennis Tan

22 Malacca St, # 03-01,

RB Capital Building, S(048980)

+65 6438 5622

+65 8874 7681 (Whatsapp)

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