6 Simple Ways to Fight Back Against Plaque
Ah, plaque. Your teeth’s greatest nemesis. Plaque is a transparent or pale yellow film that coats your teeth throughout the day when your saliva combines with the food and drinks you consume. Left alone, plaque can turn into tartar and pose a major risk to your dental health. So what can you do to keep plaque at bay? Here are six tips you can use to fight back against plaque and keep your smile happy and healthy.
1. Brush your teeth twice a day (every day)
Approximately one in every four adults don’t brush their teeth twice a day (including one-third of all men). Even worse, one in every 10 people admit that they regularly forget to brush their teeth. Why is this such a major problem? Well, plaque only needs 24 hours for it to turn into tartar. Tartar, or dental calculus, is hardened plaque. It has a yellow or brown color and can only be removed by a dental professional. Bacteria can build up beneath these tartar deposits, which cause your enamel to wear away and (you guessed it) a cavity to form. Brushing your teeth once every 12 hours ensures that plaque never has the chance to harden and turn into tartar. Be sure to floss your teeth twice a day, too. Flossing helps to remove plaque from the sides of your teeth and the tricky areas where your toothbrush can’t quite reach.
2. Use the right toothpaste
It’s not only important to brush your teeth twice a day but also to use the right toothpaste. According to Colgate, the best possible toothpastes for reducing the risk of cavities and fighting back against plaque include tartar-control toothpastes. Tartar-control toothpastes are specially designed to stop plaque in its tracks before it can harden into a tartar deposit on your teeth.
3. Rinse your mouth between meals
While it’s recommended to brush your teeth with a tartar-control toothpaste once every 12 hours, or twice a day, it’s not recommended to brush your teeth more than that. The reason for this is because brushing your teeth too often can actually wear down your teeth’s protective layer, the enamel. Your enamel is your teeth’s first line of defense against the bad bacteria in your mouth and wearing it down can put you at greater risk for cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, there is a way that you can help to keep plaque from forming in your mouth between brushing. Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water after eating to keep your saliva from mixing with the food particles leftover on your teeth. Rinsing helps to wash away sugars and carbohydrates, which mouth bacteria love to snack on.
4. Keep floss and toothpicks on hand
Rinsing your mouth with water isn’t the only way to keep food particles from mixing with your saliva to create plaque. Flossing or using a toothpick between meals can also help to keep food particles trapped between your teeth from becoming a snack for your mouth’s bad bacteria. Flossing can also be a gentle way to scrape away at any potential plaque that may build up between your teeth, too.
5. Avoid sugary snacks
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in sweets now and then, the sugars in the foods your eating can pose a potential threat to your dental health if you’re not careful. As we mentioned above, the bad bacteria in your mouth love sugars and carbohydrates the most, and the acids these bacteria release after eating those particles will wear away at your enamel. Try to avoid eating foods and drinking beverages that have high sugar content or are high in carbohydrates so these particles don’t make their way into the bellies of these bacteria.
6. Get regular dental cleanings
Finally, one of the best ways to keep plaque at bay is to visit your local dentists regularly to maintain your oral health. Dentists have the ability to professionally clean your teeth and they have the special tools necessary to scrape away tartar. What’s more, dentists can also provide fillings. Fillings are when your dentist cleans out the bad bacteria and decay from your tooth before filling in the cavity to prevent further decay.
If you’re looking for local dentists to help protect your teeth from plaque, Loudoun Dental Associates has you covered. To learn more about our dental checkups and services, contact us today.