What is dental plaque and how can I get rid of it?

Have you ever noticed that after a dental cleaning your teeth look sparkly and white, but over time you notice they become more yellow with yellowish deposits between your teeth and at the gum line? That yellowish color comes from plaque, a filmy substance made out of bacteria and calculus (hardened plaque). Plaque accumulates on your teeth both above and below your gum line. You may find it unsightly, but what’s more, it can damage your teeth and gums if it’s not removed.

What Is Tartar/Plaque?

Even if you take great care of your teeth at home, you still have bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria, saliva and food by products form a sticky film called dental plaque. Plaque contains bacteria and adheres to your teeth and gums. It can damage tooth enamel and lead to cavities. That is why toothbrushing and flossing is very important to remove plaque. 

Tartar, also called calculus is hardened plaque. It is rough and could not be removed at home by toothbrushing or flossing, but with special equipments in the dental office. Calculus can lead to receding gums and gum disease because of the damaging effects of bacteria in them that destroys the bone and gums surrounding teeth, eventually causing mobile teeth.

6 Tips to Control Buildup

  1. Brush regularly, twice a day for 2 minutes per duration. A 30-second scrub twice a day won’t remove plaque or prevent tartar. Use a brush with soft bristles that is small enough to fit into your mouth. Be sure to include the hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and on your molars adjacent to your cheeks.
  2. Choose toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride will help repair enamel damage. Some toothpaste products have a substance called triclosan that fights the bacteria in plaque.
  3. Floss. No matter how good you are with a toothbrush, dental floss is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep plaque out of these hard-to-reach areas.
  4. Rinse daily. Use an antiseptic mouthwash daily to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
  5. Watch your diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrives on sugary and starchy foods. When they’re exposed to those foods, they release harmful acids. Try to eat a healthy diet and limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. That goes for snacks, too. Every time you eat, you also feed the bacteria in your mouth. You don’t have to give up sweets or between-meals munches. Just be mindful about how often you indulge. Brush and drink plenty of water during and after meals.

Want to know more about your teeth, feel free to book an appointment with us at Smileway Dental Clinic Setapak or USJ.

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