Plaque is inevitable, but with a good oral hygiene routine you can protect your smile. Read on to discover exactly what plaque is and how to get plaque off teeth.
What is Plaque?
When the bacteria in your mouth interact with sugars and starches, they create a sticky, colorless film called plaque, which forms on your teeth and along the gumline. If plaque is left to build up on teeth, it hardens into a substance called tartar (or calculus).
While everyone develops plaque (bacteria are constantly growing in our mouths!), it’s not always easy to see. To make plaque build up visible, you can stain it by chewing red “disclosing tablets,” available at grocery stores or drug stores. The red dye will show you where there is plaque—and where you have to brush again to remove it.
Tartar, on the other hand, is fairly easy to spot. The most common sign is a yellow-brown deposit between the lower front teeth or at the gum line.
How to Get Rid of Plaque
So what can you do to get plaque off your teeth, and keep your smile healthy? Here are our recommended plaque removal techniques:
- Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily. Making this a habit is the best way to remove plaque from teeth and prevent tartar from forming. Be sure to brush for a full two minutes morning and night, and don’t neglect those hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth on your rear molars. And, remember, flossing is the only way to remove plaque from between your teeth!
- Rinse daily. Using mouthwash daily can help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
- Be mindful of your diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugary and starchy foods. Eating a healthy diet and limiting sugary foods can help keep your teeth healthy and strong. In addition, be mindful of frequent snacking and sipping on sugary drinks—both of these habits can cause more plaque to form on your teeth.
- Drink water or chew sugarless gum after eating. Both help to wash away food residue, neutralize acids in your mouth, and reduce decay-causing bacteria.
- Don’t smoke. Studies show that people who smoke are more likely to have tartar.
Plaque happens to the best of us. Be sure to come see us for regular checkups and cleanings, so we can remove any plaque or tartar that’s accumulated over the months and keep your smile sparkling clean.
Not sure if you’re effectively removing plaque from teeth with your at-home routine? Due for a dental cleaning? Don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d be happy to answer any questions or help schedule your next appointment.