What’s That White Substance On My Teeth?

Our Cheshunt dentist answers a commonly searched question.

Have you ever woken up in the morning and found that there appears to be an unpleasant ‘gunk’ that has built up around your teeth and on the soft tissues of your mouth?

It can feel pretty disgusting; but what is it?

This ‘gunk’ is largely plaque that has built up overnight, usually when the mouth is fairly dry. The stickiness is caused by the substances secreted by the plaque bacteria. One of the chemical compounds of this secretion is an adhesive which helps the bacteria to live on the surface of the tooth and is one of the reasons that you need to brush your teeth regularly.

Is it dangerous?

Whilst unpleasant in texture, the plaque should have no long term consequences providing that you don’t allow this to happen, due to a dry mouth, too often. Regular cleaning of the teeth and ensuring that you are well hydrated at bed time, especially if you have been drinking alcohol, should make this only an occasional occurrence.

Even without the ‘yuk’ factor though, it is still important to remember that this ‘goo’ is still present in your mouth, living on the surface of your teeth in small quantities, so, whilst you may not experience the unpleasantness, it doesn’t mean that it is not there. It is not really dangerous as such, but should be cleaned away regularly and efficiently to prevent problems in the mouth.

Consequences of bacterial buildup

Whilst many bacteria that are present in the mouth are ‘good bacteria’, helping to start the digestion of our food, for example; allowing a build up of plaque to continue is very likely to lead to gingivitis and ultimately periodontitis, the end result eventually being possible tooth loss.

We try to make our Cheshunt dental patients aware of the importance of having healthy gums as well as looking after their teeth. It is actually very straightforward and only requires just a little regular effort. Staying hydrated, brushing regularly, using dental floss and seeing the hygienist at our Cheshunt practice every six months or so should help to ensure that your gums are kept in good health.

Making sure that you are free from gum disease is much easier with regular professional care and dental hygienist visits are an excellent way to really keep on top of this. In addition to any advice offered, your teeth will be given a ‘scale and polish’ to remove any tartar from the teeth and gum line, leaving your mouth feeling fresher and healthier.

For more advice on gum disease, or to book an appointment with the hygienist at The Lodge Dental Suite, please call us on 01992 643388.