Plaque is a sticky film that can covers the teeth, which contains bacteria that produce an acid. This acid is what eats away at tooth enamel, making it easier for the teeth to decay. With a professional dental cleaning, the plaque is removed. It is not possible to clean your teeth as thoroughly as can be done with special dental tools and techniques. Cleaning off the plaque for some patients may include root planing, whether the plaque is taken off the roots of the teeth beneath the surface of the gums.