Overview

Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Plaque develops when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. Bacteria that naturally live in the mouth thrive on these foods (milk, soft drinks, candy, cakes, juice, raisins, etc.) and produce acids that can destroy tooth enamel. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Poor dental hygiene and dry mouth can also increase the development of plaque.

Symptoms

Plaque can lead to a variety of dental conditions with many symptoms including:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
  • Gums that are tender when touched
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen gums
  • Tooth pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Bitter or sour taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath