What Is Dental Plaque?
Whenever we eat food, some food particles get stuck between our teeth. These food particles combine with saliva and fluids in the oral cavity to make our mouth a breeding ground for bacteria. This deposition of bacteria results causes your teeth to get coated with an extremely sticky layer, called the biofilm. This biofilm or bacterial accumulation is called Dental Plaque. These bacteria thrive on the sugary diets that you consume and excrete acids that are detrimental for your oral health, making it important to get rid of plaque. Poor dental hygiene and questionable food choices can increase the number of bacteria or their growth rate. These bacteria are seemingly harmless but they love to stick to the surface of your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Plaque is most noticeable when you don’t brush your teeth. Bacterial plaque, microbial plaque, or dental biofilm is notorious for being the number one cause of tooth decay and gum diseases. Plaque is made up of 80 to 90% water combined with bacteria and glycoproteins. While being firmly adhered to your tooth enamel, these bacteria continue to produce acids which cause cavities, dental calculus, and other gum diseases. Simply rinsing your mouth may not help to get rid of plaque. To remove this sticky biofilm, you need to brush and floss regularly, especially after meals. Plaque can get worse over time. It turns into tartar within 24 to 72 hours. Tartar is a hard yellow or brown deposition. It’s easier to clean plaque at home, whereas to remove tartar build-up, you’ll need the help of a dentist.
How to Get Rid of Plaque?
To get rid of plaque, you need to bring on your A-game when it comes to maintaining oral hygiene. Dentists have recommended that an average person should brush his teeth twice a day. Flossing and rinsing your mouth with a good mouthwash should also be included in your oral health routine.
There is a range of anti-plaque fluoride toothpaste available in the market today. These toothpaste options help remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up. Whether you are using a manual toothbrush or an electric one, make sure to replace it with a new one or a new brush head every 3 months. Frayed or worn toothbrush bristles do not eliminate plaque effectively. An old toothbrush does more harm than good as it’s contaminated with bacteria as well.
As mentioned, food particles stuck between the teeth can accelerate plaque build-up. Hence, it’s important to floss after each meal. Dental floss can reach even those areas where your toothbrush can’t. Plaque build-up in inconspicuous areas can be dealt with easily with proper flossing.
Also, don’t forget to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouth wash.
Healthy habits can greatly improve your dental and overall health along with preventing plaque build-up. Quit smoking and replace sugary or carbonated drinks with water to deescalate plaque buildup. You should try to avoid eating foods that are high in sugar.
Lastly and most importantly, do not skip your dental checkups. Proper cleaning of the mouth by a professional dental practitioner every 6 months can help you get rid of plaque and numerous other oral health conditions. Give us a call or make an appointment with your local Dr. Stephanie Mullins DDS in Lee's Summit, MO, so we can help you achieve a clean and healthy mouth!