What Is Plaque and How to Prevent It?

A healthy mouth may not require a perfect set of teeth. But a mouth free from plaque perfectly positions you for a happy and healthy smile. Plaque is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. The good news is that you can prevent it from wreaking havoc on your teeth. 

What is Plaque? 

The colorless, slick, sometimes sticky film that you feel on the surface of your teeth is plaque. The foods you eat give rise to it – especially those foods that are rich in sugars and starches. The bacteria that live in your mouth thrive on these. And in the process of breaking them down, they produce acids. These acids start destroying the enamel of your teeth, resulting in tooth decay. If the plaque starts to develop on the roots of your teeth, it can lead to gum damage. Gums are important because they support dental bone. 

How to Keep Plaque from Forming 

Luckily, you can do quite a lot to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth. The best way to prevent the buildup of plaque is to you take good care of your teeth at home. 

Brush your Teeth

Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristled toothbrush. Also, use a good quality toothpaste that contains fluoride. When you brush your teeth, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle. Use gentle motions. And brush for at least two minutes. You may find it helpful to purchase an egg timer. Or, sing “Happy Birthday” two times as you brush. Most people overestimate the amount of time they spend brushing. Concentrate on brushing the areas where teeth meet the gums. And don’t neglect to brush your tongue and the underside of your teeth. 

  • Floss
    Flossing is an important step because it helps to remove food particles and bacteria from between the teeth. Floss your teeth at least once a day. 
  • Use Mouthwash
    After brushing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce the bacteria that cause plaque. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet

A balanced diet eliminates refined sugar and starches which can contribute to plaque build-up. Avoid snacking between meals. And if you do need to snack, reach for fresh fruit and raw vegetables. These help remove food from between teeth and neutralize plaque-causing acids. Whenever possible, go for yogurt and cheese rather than chocolate candy. These improve your waistline as well as your smile. 

Regularly Visit your Dentist

A good dental checkup and teeth cleaning should be done every six months. A dental cleaning (aka prophylaxis) will effectively remove all plaque. And your dentist and/or hygienist will be able to identify plaque which sits below the surface of your gums. 

Your dentist might recommend dental sealants to protect your teeth. Dental sealants are a plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth, protecting the teeth from getting cavities.

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999. 

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