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Current Concepts in Preventive Dentistry

Course Number: 334

Educating Your Patients on the Role of Dental Plaque

Plaque is a biofilm that contributes to two oral diseases: dental caries and periodontal disease. It is a complex community of microorganisms. Biofilm that holds bacterial colonies cannot only cause dental caries or periodontal disease it also contributes to peri-mucositis and peri-implantitis around dental implants. The initial layer or formation of plaque is called the acquired pellicle. This layer will reform immediately after removal and will also form on artificial prosthesis, such as dentures. With over 800 species of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in the human oral cavity, microbes grow as complex colonies in biofilm. In fact, it takes only two days for plaque to double in mass. Although calculus is an irritant, plaque is the contributing factor to periodontal disease. Daily removal of biofilm and bacterial colonies is critical to reduce oral diseases. As we introduce oral hygiene care, this is a good time to discuss the website, brought to you by the ADA and endorsed by all of the other national dental organizations. Every patient should be shown this website. The site provides educational materials for our patients and the community. We’re often asked by K-12 teachers for materials they can use in the classroom. The website provides many resources, including educational videos and more.