Plaque is one of the most challenging parts of maintaining a white smile and a healthy mouth. Everyone must deal with plaque, but some people have a more difficult time doing so due to genetics, environmental causes and other factors. Knowing how to prevent plaque build up can improve your oral health and brighten your smile.
What Is Plaque?
Before diving into the basics of how to prevent plaque build up, it’s a good idea to understand what this substance is. A sticky and filmy substance, plaque is made up of saliva that mixes with leftover particles of food. If it isn’t removed promptly and properly after meals, it can build up on the teeth.
How Plaque Affects Your Teeth
Plaque, which contains the bacteria found in your mouth, can buildup above and below the gum line. After a few days, plaque can harden into tartar. This substance can make your breath smell and your teeth take on a yellowish look. Even worse, tartar can damage your teeth and cause gum disease.
How To Prevent Plaque Build Up
When plaque hardens into tartar, it must be scraped off your teeth by your dentist. Knowing how to prevent plaque build up can prevent a host of problems. There are two primary things you can do to help prevent plaque from building up on your teeth.
The carbohydrates that are found in nearly all foods are necessary in order for plaque to form. While even healthy foods like vegetables and fruits contain carbohydrates, those foods with higher sugar content also have more carbohydrates. This includes cookies, cake, candy and other processed foods.
Watching the number of carbohydrates you consume can play a big role in preventing plaque. Limit cookies, candy and other sweet foods as much as possible.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid consuming carbohydrates completely though. In addition to fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates are found in cereal, potatoes, bread and corn.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The second way to prevent plaque build-up is to practice good oral hygiene. Plaque hardens into tartar about 48 hours after it forms on your teeth. For best results, brush and floss your teeth as soon as possible after you eat a meal with carbohydrates.
Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is a crucial part of the strategy to prevent plaque build up. Practicing good oral hygiene also removes any particles that might be loose in your mouth and that can contribute to the formation of plaque.
How To Prevent Plaque Build Up With Good Oral Hygiene
Start with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush and a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste. After wetting the toothbrush, angle it toward your gum line and brush gently over all the teeth’s surfaces before moving on to the next tooth.
Flossing is another step in the process of maintaining good oral hygiene. It can effectively remove those food particles and other debris between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Visit the dentist regularly for dental cleanings. In spite of your best efforts, it’s possible that you might miss some plaque. If it forms into tartar, your dentist can safely, and easily scrape it off your teeth by using special tools. You can also undergo teeth whitening treatment from a cosmetic dentist to restore your smile.
Over the course of your daily life, your smile can gradually start to yellow without you really becoming aware of it. Maintaining a regular schedule of dental visits can highlight any potential issues so they can be corrected early.
Located in Waukegan, IL, Greenwood Dental Care is your reliable family dental team serving Gurnee, Beach Park, Wadsworth, Winthrop Harbor and the surrounding areas. Learn more by contacting us at 855.528.3961 to schedule an appointment.