What is plaque, anyway?


Plaque is the word we use for the nearly invisible film of bacteria in our mouths.

It is embedded in a sticky network on the tooth surfaces and firmly attached.

Sometimes we call it ‘biofilm’ – literally ‘biological film’.

Within one hour of brushing, around 1,000,000 bacteria will have accumulated per square millimetre. They live in colonies and communities of their own. Imagine the bacteria within a mini ecosystem.

Some bacteria are harmless and live in relative harmony with our bodies.

More than 300 species and various stains may be present in any one area at any time, but it is difficult to take a sample with the constant shifting of the phases of the disease, so their full complexity is not truly know.

However, one thing is certain. The most damaging types of bacteria are those which establish themselves over time. This means if you leave the unharmful pioneers undisturbed for too long, the nasty bacteria cause trouble.

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