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Almost all of us note white plaque on our teeth from time to time. Where do white stains on teeth near gum line come from?
What Is White Plaque?
Teeth are practically the only part of the human body that does not have a self-regulating system, which could remove old useless tissues and replace them with layers of new cells. White plaque on the teeth is a soft substance that sticks to their surface. It consists of saliva minerals, organic residues, liquid from the gingival groove, live bacteria, and their waste products. It is the perfect environment for microorganisms to live and multiply.
Note!Scientists have learnt about 25 thousand species of bacteria that can live in different parts of the human oral cavity. About one thousand of them inhabit white plaque and are able to adapt to the changing conditions of their environment. Moreover, recent studies suggest that germs can affect the environment themselves, adjusting it to their needs.
A little white plaque is naturally determined to protect the teeth and gums from the aggressive effect of pathogenic bacteria. It mustn’t raise any concern. However, if the oral cavity is not properly and regularly taken care of, white plaque is accrued and builds up on teeth. It leads to the mineralization and further hardening. It is impossible to remove the new substance, called calculus, on one’s own only with a brush and paste, so the dentist must be visited. He will clean the teeth with the help of special tools or devices.
Sometimes people also have to deal with white stains on teeth after braces are taken off. 20% of patients who want to straighten their teeth are diagnosed with this problem. Sometimes dentists even have to remove braces before the appointed time. The reasons can be improper care of the devices and oral cavity or an unhealthy diet. To prevent the appearance of stains the dentist must inform the patient how to clean teeth sufficiently and what food to avoid. They include toffees, whole fruit and vegetables, bubblegum, ice-cream, fizzy drinks, crisps, wine, strong coffee and tea and other viscous, sticky, solid, cold, and staining products. The main method of treatment, in this case, is the local use of fluorides.
Due to the absence of painful feelings, some patients don’t do anything even when they see white stains on teeth in the morning and in the evening. Meanwhile, the bacteria existing closest to the enamel begin to use anaerobic respiration, because they live in conditions without oxygen. Thereafter, they emit much more acid. It destroys the enamel and forms carious cavities. As a result, bad breath appears.
How Can I Understand that I Have White Plaque?
There are different ways of diagnosing white stains:
- Visual inspection. If there is a plenty of plaque on teeth, it can be seen with the naked eye as whitish masses. Calculus is located closer to the gums and often has a yellowish-grey tint.
- Scraping with a dental probe or a toothpick. After running a toothpick over the cervical surface of two or three teeth, you can find the remains of plaque on its tip. Try not to hurt the gum, as it is very easy to injure and infect, which will cause local inflammation. This is a good and easy way to evaluate the quality of dental hygiene, as well as to check children’s teeth when teaching them oral care.
- Staining. For this purpose, specific fluids or tablets are used. They are available only in dental offices and are not intended for permanent use. After chewing the tablet with a dye, you can see soft and hard plaque, because it gets bright colour (often red). This method is the most demonstrative one, though later the professional cleaning is required. Otherwise, the painted plaque will remain solid on teeth.
- U-rays exposure. The method is as demonstrative as the previous one, but the stains do not change their colour in daylight. All you need to do is to rinse your mouth with a special mixture. Then the doctor directs an ultraviolet lamp on the teeth, and the plaque is highlighted in bright orange.
Soft white stains on teeth tend to turn into calculus when several factors are present at the same time: dryness in the oral cavity due to low level of saliva or saliva production of increased viscosity, change in the oral fluid pH level, the temperature optimal for the process, imbalance of redox reactions, rare or improper tooth cleaning.
It is pH level that is essential when it comes to the diseases of hard tissues of teeth. When the reactions turn to be more acidic, the minerals, which are part of the enamel giving it hardness and solidity, are washed out. In this case, hard tissues soften and are subsequently destroyed. Bacterial acids also affect the gums in a negative way, causing inflammation and bleeding.
How to Prevent White Plaque?
First of all, make sure that you clean your teeth as frequently and correctly as you are to. Often it is an improper technique which leads to calculus building up in definite places. Generally, they are back surfaces of the front teeth on the lower jaw and parts of the chewing teeth that are closest to the gums. It is also necessary to remove food particles which remain between the teeth with dental floss.
To reduce the stickiness of the plaque and stimulate the abundant secretion of saliva filled with protective agents, mouthwashes should be used. They would better not contain alcohol, as it causes dehydration of cells and dry mouth. To produce a soft but considerable effect one should make use of extracts and decoctions of such herbs as mint, sage, chamomile, and thyme. They can be made at home of plants or dry substrates from the drugstore. Or everyone can purchase ready-made mouthwashes, manufactured by different companies.