How to avoid plaque on teeth
July 29, 2020
Plaque is the invisible enemy of healthy teeth and gums. This slippery, sticky transparent biofilm constantly forms on our teeth and is the product of the combination of saliva, food, and fluids. Packed with bacteria that produce acids that attack tooth enamel and damage our gum, plaque looks harmless but over time, it can cause irreversible damage to our smile and our oral health. This is because plaque causes two major issues – dental decay and gum disease. Dental decay is painful and when left to progress, can lead to infection of the root canal and even tooth loss. Meanwhile, gum disease starts off fairly subtly, with sore, swollen and bleeding gums, but over time can cause abscesses to form, the gums to recede, and the jawbone to deteriorate, making tooth loss a certainty. There are even some general health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which have been linked to a diagnosis of moderate or severe gum disease.
Avoiding plaque can help you to avoid all manner of dental problems. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to keep plaque at bay. Here are our 5 top tips to avoid plaque on your teeth.
1. Brush your teeth without fail
Brushing your teeth twice each day is the single most valuable thing you can do to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. This is because brushing regularly removes plaque before it has a chance to cause dental problems. Use a soft-bristled brush and apply firm, but not hard, consistent pressure when you brush. Electric toothbrushes are proven to remove more plaque than manual varieties, but manual versions do work perfectly well when you take your time and brush methodically. Use a fluoride toothpaste, as this will strengthen your teeth too. Brush once after breakfast, and again before bed, each time for at least two minutes.
2. Remember to floss
We understand that flossing can be quite time-consuming, especially if you find it tricky. Nevertheless, it is a vitally important part of avoiding plaque on teeth. This is because floss gets in the tiny gaps that toothbrush bristles can’t, preventing plaque, and subsequently tartar, from forming there. Ideally, you should floss at least once per day, using your preferred type of floss, be it traditional, an interdental brush, or another innovative flossing solution.
3. Schedule regular professional dental cleans
Plaque can be removed through home oral hygiene practices, but invariably there are times where some get missed. If you repeatedly miss the same areas, any plaque that forms there will have the opportunity to harden into tough, yellowish-brown deposits called tartar. Tartar can’t be removed with a toothbrush and instead requires the help of a dentist or hygienist with professional tools. Regular professional dental cleans can help ensure that you don’t have any areas where tartar has been able to form.
4. Consider chewing gum between meals
Chewing gum is actually very good news for our oral health provided you choose a sugarless variety. This is because chewing gum causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which in turn helps to neutralize and rinse away some of the acids that form in our mouths as part of the eating process.
5. Drink water
Water isn’t just important for hydration and overall health; it is also a great choice of beverage for protecting your teeth. It doesn’t contain any sugar or colorings that could damage your smile, but it also helps to wash away bacteria and food debris before it can cause decay or gum disease. Try and have a glass with every snack or meal.
Need more advice on the best way to protect your teeth from plaque? Don’t hesitate to speak to our reassuring and knowledgeable dental team.