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How can plaque affect your dental health?

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Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods or beverages with sugars or starches, the bacteria release acids that attack your tooth enamel.

The plaque is so sticky that it keeps the acids in contact with your teeth, in time breaking down the enamel and leading to tooth decay.

Plaque buildup can also lead to gum disease -- first gingivitis, the tender and swollen gums that sometimes bleed. If it progresses, severe periodontal (gum) disease can develop. Gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, allowing the bacteria to destroy the underlying bone supporting the teeth.

SOURCES:

David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, and professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Sally Cram, DDS, periodontist, Washington, D.C., and consumer advisor, American Dental Association.

American Academy of Periodontology: "Gum Disease and Diabetes," "Inflammation: Connecting the Mouth and Body?", "Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology develop joint clinical recommendations," "Frequently Asked Questions," "Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart: The Perio-Cardio Connection."

Offenbacher, S. October 1996; vol 67: pp 1103-1113. Journal of Periodontology,

Seymour R. May 23, 2009; vol 206: pp 551-552. British Dental Journal,

Radnai, M. , March 2009; vol 88: pp 280-284. Journal of Dental Research

American Dental Association: "Plaque," "Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums," "Tooth Decay."

Noble, J. , online May 5, 2009. Journal of Neurology and Neurosurgery Psychiatry

Kaisare, S. Aug. 11, 2007; vol 203: pp 144-145. British Dental Journal,

Srinivas, S. May 2009; vol 200: p 497 and e1-8. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,

Smolik, I. May 2009; vol 30: pp 188-90, 192, 194, 198, 210. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry,

Kamer, A. July 2008; vol 4: pp 242-50. Alzheimer's & Dementia,

Wang, T. May 2009, vol 36: pp 372-379. Journal of Clinical Periodontology,

Ortiz, P. 2009, vol 80: pp 535-540. Journal of Periodontology,

Mercado, FB. , June 2001; vol 72: pp 779-787. Journal of Periodontology

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on January 15, 2018

SOURCES:

David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, and professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Sally Cram, DDS, periodontist, Washington, D.C., and consumer advisor, American Dental Association.

American Academy of Periodontology: "Gum Disease and Diabetes," "Inflammation: Connecting the Mouth and Body?", "Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology develop joint clinical recommendations," "Frequently Asked Questions," "Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart: The Perio-Cardio Connection."

Offenbacher, S. October 1996; vol 67: pp 1103-1113. Journal of Periodontology,

Seymour R. May 23, 2009; vol 206: pp 551-552. British Dental Journal,

Radnai, M. , March 2009; vol 88: pp 280-284. Journal of Dental Research

American Dental Association: "Plaque," "Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums," "Tooth Decay."

Noble, J. , online May 5, 2009. Journal of Neurology and Neurosurgery Psychiatry

Kaisare, S. Aug. 11, 2007; vol 203: pp 144-145. British Dental Journal,

Srinivas, S. May 2009; vol 200: p 497 and e1-8. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,

Smolik, I. May 2009; vol 30: pp 188-90, 192, 194, 198, 210. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry,

Kamer, A. July 2008; vol 4: pp 242-50. Alzheimer's & Dementia,

Wang, T. May 2009, vol 36: pp 372-379. Journal of Clinical Periodontology,

Ortiz, P. 2009, vol 80: pp 535-540. Journal of Periodontology,

Mercado, FB. , June 2001; vol 72: pp 779-787. Journal of Periodontology

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on January 15, 2018

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Is periodontal disease linked to other conditions?

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