Dental plaque is a biofilm formed from bacteria in your mouth. [Stage 1] It starts to form within a...
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Dental plaque is a biofilm formed from bacteria in your mouth. [Stage 1] It starts to form within a couple of minutes on a freshly polished tooth. [Stage 2] Once the bacteria stick to teeth, they bind to other bacteria in your mouth. The larger the mass of bacteria becomes, the more bacteria it can hold onto and the thicker the plaque becomes. When you brush your teeth, you disrupt the biofilm and colonies of microbes, and the process begins again. [Stage 3] Anywhere the plaque is not removed, the bacteria mass continues to grow and the more complicated the mix of bacteria becomes. [Stage 4] The bacteria in plaque produce acid from carbohydrates in your mouth, which eats away at tooth enamel. Calcium, phosphorous, and fluoride molecules in your saliva replace the minerals lost from your teeth by acid. But over time, more minerals are lost than can be replaced. Enamel is worn away, and tartar begins to form.