Plaque is a soft and sticky film, which is usually colourless or faint yellow in nature, that builds up constantly on teeth. Plaque is comprised of bacteria, sugars, foods, saliva and liquids, and can have very detrimental effects if left untreated. If left long enough, the soft film can harden into what is known as tartar. How to know if you are developing a build-up of plaque Plaque is constantly developing on teeth. Usually around 4 hours after brushing your teeth, plaque will start to rebuild again. Generally, there is not too much to worry about as everyone has plaque developing upon their teeth. However, when plaque starts to build up, we start seeing more serious effects developing. Your teeth may start to feel different, fuzzier and less smooth than what they usually are. If left to build up even further, the plaque will turn into a harder substance known as tartar, which is a lot harder to remove, as tartar builds up at the gumline. Once developed, tartar will begin to cause more damage to your teeth. The dangers of plaque building up Since plaque is made up from sugars in food that has been previously ingested, it will start eating away at your teeth, potentially leading to cavities, gingivitis, tooth decay and periodontitis. These can severely damage your teeth and gums, and could lead to teeth being removed or fillings. Plaque that is not brushed away will develop into tartar, and this will lead to swelling and possibly bleeding of the gums, allowing for infections to take hold. The bleeding of gums is known as gingivitis and, whilst preventable, if left untreated this can turn into a more serious disease known as periodontitis. This is a much more severe form of gum disease derived from a bacterial infection taking place. Periodontitis causes your gums to recede and pull away from your teeth, causing a lot of pain. In severe cases the bone supporting your tooth may be completely destroyed leading to the removal of teeth. How can I prevent plaque? Plaque build-up can be easily resolved, with a well-maintained oral hygiene routine. Taking steps to achieve this will dramatically reduce any plaque build-up in your mouth.