Plaque Attack – What Plaque Does to Your Teeth and How to Keep it Away

Feb 12, 2015 | Dental Information, Oral Health Care, Preventative Dental Care

If you’ve ever run your tongue past the fronts (or backs) of your teeth and felt the “film” that lets you know you need to brush, then you know what plaque feels like. It’s a buildup of bacteria on the surfaces of your teeth – and if you let it stay there too long then it hardens into calculus and bacteria is stuck in and around your teeth and gums, when this happens you could end up needing more than just a cleaning.

It’s completely normal for leftover food particles to mix with your saliva and the plaque stick to your teeth. With proper brushing technique, this sticky substance is removed and your teeth are kept clean and buildup-free. However, plaque buildup and calculus contains bacteria – the kind that can be a contributing factor for tooth decay and gum disease.The longer it sits on your teeth the more damage it can cause. This tarter has to be removed off your teeth and is also what makes your teeth appear yellow.

So the key is, as usual, stopping plaque in its tracks before it can harden into tartar. Below is our five step tartar-busting dental plan that will keep your teeth tartar-free and looking clean.

Tip 1: Brush Your Teeth Each and Every Day

If you’re brushing your teeth once a day, congratulations – you’ve formed an important habit. Now it’s time to step it up a notch and hit the “twice daily” mark. Brushing multiple times each day with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste helps prevent plaque from forming and can help rid your teeth of any plaque that may have already started.

The entire process of brushing your teeth, gums, tongue and insides of your cheeks should take at least two minutes.

Tip 2: Follow Plaque to Those Hard-to-Reach Places: Between Your Teeth

There’s not much to say on the topic of flossing that hasn’t already been said. However, flossing is a vital part of your overall dental care and is an important way to keep plaque from forming between your teeth. Whether you use traditional floss, or some other interdental device, cleaning in between is important to make it part of your routine.

Tip 3: Use a Mouth Rinse

Many people think that mouth “rinse” and mouth “wash” are interchangeable terms. In reality, a mouthwash is used to freshen your breath while an antiseptic mouth rinse reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Making regular use of a mouth rinse twice each day can prevent plaque buildup more than brushing and flossing alone and only takes 30-45 seconds. It’s just one more great way to fight plaque, but does not replace brushing and flossing.

Tip 4: Stay Away from Sugary, Sticky Foods

Food particles that cling to your teeth and get lodged between your teeth are among the hardest to remove. Sticky candy, chewy granola bars, and dried fruit (like, raisins) are among the top culprits. Also, sugary foods (and starchy ones, too) are among the most harmful to your teeth.

Sugar that’s not removed from the teeth promptly after eating helps plaque grow and increases the risk of tooth decay. The sooner you remove sugary and starchy foods from your teeth, the less chance there is for decay (cavities) to occur.

Tip 5: Visit Your Dentist on a Regular Basis

Nobody knows the surefire signs of plaque better than a dentist. Seeing your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis will go a long way toward minimizing plaque and calculus reduce your risk of gum disease or tooth decay. We can also give you personalized tips to help take even better care of your teeth so that keeping your mouth healthy is as easy for you as possible.

Plaque is among the greatest threats to healthy teeth and gums. When it builds up on the surfaces of your teeth, it eats away at the protective enamel which leads to decay and cavities. On top of this damage, bacteria from plaque leads to bad breath, unhealthy gums and yellowing teeth. Brushing and flossing on a regular basis (at least twice a day) is the easiest and most-effective way to remove plaque from your teeth and keep them, along with your gums and breath, healthy and fresh.

As always, contact us if you have any questions or concerns about plaque and your teeth. We’re here to help.