Dental plaque is a fact of life, something that we all deal with because we have teeth, and we need to eat. Plaque is the film that forms over our teeth from bacteria, proteins, and other byproducts leftover from eating and drinking. Plaque can get under the gumline and stick to dental work. It can also damage tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
Lasting Effects of Plaque
If plaque stays on your teeth, it can form tartar. Tartar is a rough, porous substance that forms above and below your gumline. Its presence can cause receding gums and lead to gum disease. Because tartar can form around multiple teeth, it can also make it difficult to brush and floss properly.
The only way to remove tartar is at the dentist’s office.
Preventing Plaque Build Up and Tartar
While tartar requires a dental visit, you can take steps to keep plaque from building up and forming into tartar in the first place. Here are some things you can do to keep a clean, healthy mouth free of plaque buildup.
Brush regularly. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, for 2 minutes each time. Use a soft brush and make sure you get the hard-to-reach areas behind your teeth and along the back molars. An electronic toothbrush is good for removing plaque because of the swift movement of the head, but you can use a manual brush as well. Just make sure that you brush thoroughly.
Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste is important for controlling plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Fluoride also helps repair enamel damage (which is why it’s been in most US water supplies since the 1960s).
Floss your teeth. Brushing your teeth is important, but your toothbrush can’t get between your teeth. Be sure to floss after meals and before you brush your teeth to pull plaque from between your teeth.
Use an antiseptic mouthwash. Mouthwash is nice for fresh breath, but the right mouthwash is also healthy for your teeth. An antiseptic mouthwash will help kill bacteria in your mouth and prevent plaque buildup.
Watch what you eat. A healthy diet is important for a healthy mouth. Limit your intake of sugary foods, which will just feed the bacteria in your mouth and help them grow. In addition to watching what you eat, be sure to drink plenty of water with your meals and between as well.
Don’t smoke. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are extremely unhealthy for your mouth. Chewing tobacco does horrible damage to teeth and gums and creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Smoking causes harm as well, as smoke irritates gums and nicotine interferes with the blood flow to your gums.
Schedule regular dental check-ups. Dental checkups are important to your oral health. Regular cleanings will clear away stubborn plaque and any tartar that does manage to build up. In addition, your dentist can check for cavities and other dental problems that can impact your health.
Family Dentistry in Bucks County
Are you looking for a dental clinic in Philadelphia or the surrounding area? Contact us for an appointment for you and your whole family. Good dental care is important, so help your children start good habits while they’re young. They’ll thank you for it when they’re older.