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Dental Plaque: What Is It and How To Remove Them

Dental Plaque: What Is It and How To Remove Them

Plaque is a sticky deposit that forms on the surfaces of our teeth. It is made up of bacteria, saliva, and food particles, and it can cause many dental health issues if not removed promptly. Plaque buildup leads to tooth decay and gum disease if left unchecked, so it’s important to know how to identify and remove it. In this article, we will discuss what dental plaque is and how to remove it effectively.

What is Dental Plaque?

Dental plaque is made up of bacteria that feed on the sugars in our food and drinks. These bacteria produce waste products that form a sticky film on our teeth. If left undisturbed, the bacteria will continue to multiply until they form a thick coating around our teeth. This coating traps food particles which can lead to tooth decay if not removed regularly. Plaque also releases acids that wear away at the enamel of our teeth causing further damage over time.

Plaque vs. Tartar: Their Difference

Plaque and tartar are often used interchangeably when discussing dental care, but they are two distinct dental issues. Plaque is a soft, sticky film that forms on the surface of your teeth from bacteria and saliva. It can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, as well as professional cleanings. Tartar, on the other hand, is a hardened form of plaque that has been allowed to remain on the teeth for too long. Tartar can only be removed through professional dental cleanings and is much more difficult to remove than plaque.

What Causes Plaque Formation?

Poor dental hygiene, such as infrequent brushing and flossing, allows bacteria in the mouth to grow unchecked which leads to plaque build-up. Certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, eating starchy foods, and drinking sugary drinks, can also increase your risk for plaque formation. Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as dry mouth, can also increase the risk of plaque buildup.

Oral Problems Cause by Teeth Plaque

#1. Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is one of the most common oral problems associated with teeth plaque. The bacteria found in plaque can produce foul-smelling odors from decaying food particles and saliva trapped in its sticky coating. This causes a nasty odor to come from the mouth and can be an embarrassing issue for many people. 

#2. Gum Disease or Periodontal Disease

Plaque that is not removed from the teeth can harden into tartar, trapping bacteria beneath the gum line and leading to gum disease. This condition causes inflammation and swelling of the gums, as well as bleeding when brushing or flossing. Left unchecked, gum disease can lead to severe damage to the jawbone and tooth loss.

#3. Tooth Decay

The acids produced by the bacteria in plaque can wear away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities and other forms of tooth decay. If plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for extended periods, it can cause irreversible damage that may require expensive dental treatments to repair.

How To Remove Plaque at Home

  • Consider using an electric toothbrush: The rapid and consistent motion of an electric toothbrush helps to scrub away plaque from teeth more effectively than manual toothbrushes. Additionally, they come with a timer that helps you brush for the recommended two minutes and offers other features such as pressure sensors to ensure that you’re not brushing too hard.
  • Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is an ancient method of cleaning teeth and gums that has recently gained popularity as a more natural alternative to traditional dental care. It involves swishing oil, such as coconut or olive oil, around the mouth for up to 20 minutes to remove plaque and other debris from the teeth. The oils contain antibacterial properties which help to reduce bacteria in the mouth and clean away any plaque.
  • Use a Soda Toothpaste: Baking soda has powerful antibacterial properties that help to break down plaque and fight off bacteria that cause bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. To use baking soda for removing plaque, mix a teaspoon of the powder with a small amount of water until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to a toothbrush and brush gently for one minute. Rinse your mouth with water afterward.
  • Use a Water Flosser: A water flosser is a small handheld tool that shoots a stream of pulsating water onto the teeth to help loosen and remove plaque. It is ideal for people with braces, crowns, or bridges as it can reach even the most hard-to-reach areas in the mouth.

Preventing The Formation of Plaque on Teeth

1. Practice a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash, and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Additionally, make sure that you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub away the plaque from the surfaces of your teeth and along the gum line. 

2. Cut Back on Sugary Foods and Drinks

Eating sugary foods and drinking sugary drinks can increase your risk of plaque formation. This is because sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, allowing them to reproduce more rapidly and form a sticky coating on the teeth. Try to limit or avoid sugary snacks and beverages such as soda, candy, cookies, cakes, and other sweets.

3. Quit Smoking

Smoking is known to increase the risk of dental problems such as gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay due to its effects on saliva production which helps keep teeth clean. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your oral health.

4. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water can help flush away plaque from your teeth and gums, keeping them clean and healthy. Tap water contains fluoride which helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Additionally, drinking plenty of water will help keep your mouth hydrated and prevent bad breath caused by a dry mouth. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily for optimal oral health.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy with Azure Dental!

Visit our dental office today for all of your dental needs! Our experienced team of dentists and hygienists offer a wide variety of services, from teeth cleaning to full-mouth reconstructions. We can help you achieve healthy teeth and gums and keep them that way with regular checkups and preventive care. With our advanced technologies, we can provide an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment plan for your needs. Contact us today to set up an appointment!