Plaque is the sticky white substance that develops on and around the teeth. When plaque is not removed, it can build up and produce bacteria. This bacteria starts to attack the teeth and eventually cause tooth decay.
Everyone produces plaque throughout the day by consuming starchy and sugary food and drink but there are certain habits you can adopt to reduce the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is the best way to remove plaque from the teeth and will prevent it from building up to become visible. It is extremely important that you brush your teeth just before bed. Otherwise, plaque will be surrounding your teeth throughout the night and will start to attack the teeth.
Brushing alone only covers a small portion of your teeth. To ensure you are cleaning all surfaces of your teeth, it is best to clean between them on a daily basis. Plaque can build up between the teeth. The easiest way to remove this plaque is to use dental floss or similar tools like interdental brushes.
Another way to prevent plaque buildup is to rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash. Mouthwash helps to loosen plaque from the teeth, meaning it is easier to remove and the antibacterial properties keep plaque away for longer. Make sure you use alcohol-free mouthwash as the alcohol can dry your mouth out.
Sugary and starchy food and drink will always produce more plaque in your mouth. This is due to the bacteria feeding on the sugars left in your mouth. The foods to avoid include; starchy foods like potato crisps and bread, sticky sweets and chocolate, alcohol and fizzy drinks. If you do indulge in one of these, drink water afterwards to try to remove any particles left in the mouth. We also recommend chewing sugar-free gum after meals.
No matter how well you look after your teeth at home, plaque and tartar will build up in hard to reach areas. The only way to ensure that this is removed is to have regular professional cleaning. Booking a scale and polish with a dental hygienist every six months will reduce your likelihood of developing tooth decay and other oral health problems like gum disease.
If you would like more advice on preventing the buildup of plaque, or to book a hygienist appointment, contact Stella Maris Dental on 0121 369 2588.