Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. It develops when bacteria in the mouth react with sugars and starches found in certain foods and drinks. The bacteria in plaque feed on carbs and sugars, producing acid as they metabolize the sugars. The acids can damage your enamel and the roots of your teeth, leading to gum disease and tooth decay.
If plaque isn’t regularly removed, it can accumulate minerals from your saliva and harden into an off-white or yellow substance called tartar. Tartar builds up along your gum line on the fronts and backs of your teeth. Although attentive flossing may dislodge some tartar buildup, you’ll need to visit a dentist to help get rid of all of it.
Here are some steps to best remove dental plaque at home:
- Brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, using proper techniques. You should use a soft toothbrush that you replace at least every three to four months. You could also consider using an electric toothbrush, which can be more effective at removing plaque than a traditional toothbrush.
- Flossing: Floss once a day with dental floss to get rid of food and plaque stuck between teeth. Studies show that flossing before brushing teeth removes more plaque.
- Tongue Scraping: Scraping your tongue can help remove debris, bacteria, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. Researchers in one study found that using a tongue scraper twice a day for seven days reduced the overall incidence of Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria types are known to cause bad breath and dental decay.
- Adjusting Dietary Habits: Avoid sugary foods, soft drinks, and alcohol, especially before bed.
Plaque buildup can lead to yellow teeth and bad breath, not to mention plaque is associated with heart disease and dementia. If you allow plaque to build up by skipping teeth cleanings or neglecting to floss regularly, you activate the immune system chronically, which leads to unnecessary inflammation in the body. Long-term inflammation in the body is what causes premature aging and systemic disease.
Here are the top 5 reasons to remove plaque from your teeth:
- Prevent Tooth Decay: Plaque can lead to tooth decay as the bacteria in plaque produce acids that cause tooth decay.
- Avoid Gum Disease: If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Prevent Bad Breath: Plaque build-up can cause bad breath.
- Avoid Discoloration: Plaque can cause your teeth to become discoloured.
- Prevent Loss of Teeth: If gum disease gets worse, it can lead to loose teeth and even loss of teeth.
Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, and having regular dental check-ups is crucial for oral health.