Plaque usually forms on the teeth after people consume sugary and starchy foods. It’s a sticky, colorless substance filled with bacteria that creates acids known for constantly attacking the teeth. The frequent attacks often cause tooth decay and gum irritation, which could lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If plaque is not removed correctly, it hardens and turns into calculus or tartar. Only dental professionals are able to remove calculus with special tools–a regular toothbrush won’t suffice.
The best way to remove plaque is to brush in the morning and night, and to floss at least once a day. It’s important to use a brush that isn’t too big for the mouth but is still able to reach every area of the tooth. Electronic toothbrushes may be a better choice than manual toothbrushes. No matter what type of toothbrush is being used, it’s essential to brush the teeth for at least two minutes every time.
There are also certain mouthwashes designed to help remove plaque. Using a mouthwash in the morning or at night after brushing and flossing can be a beneficial step to incorporate into one’s oral hygiene regimen.
Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is an excellent way to help keep the teeth and gums in great shape. Limiting sugar and starchy foods, along with decreasing the amount of snacking done throughout the day will help prevent plaque from building up. Because less saliva is produced during snacking, more food and bacteria will be left between the teeth and eventually form into plaque. If snacking cannot be avoided, it’s recommended to snack on a piece of fruit or cheese. All necessary snacking should be completed before the evening brush. Otherwise, the cleaning process will be counterproductive and desired results will not be achieved.
For those questioning their cleaning abilities, there are special dyes that can be applied onto the teeth with a cotton bud to expose all of the remaining plaque. Individuals can also use special disclosing tablets provided by their dentists. The staining produced from both methods is completely harmless and will expose the areas of the teeth that need better cleaning. Usually, the plaque is found right beneath the gum line. Brushing immediately after applying the dye (or tablets) will remove the stained plaque from the teeth.
At McBride Dental, we encourage our patients to visit our office every six months (or sooner) so we can do a thorough examination to ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy. We offer preventative care services to increase our patients’ chances of maintaining great oral health for a lifetime. Our services include thorough examinations with X-rays, deep cleanings, dental sealants, and more. For those suffering from calculus, we have the special tools needed to remove the buildup and will provide home care tips to prevent the issue from reoccurring. We also offer treatment services for those suffering from other oral issues, such as gum disease or tooth loss. Contact our office today at (760) 471-1003 if you would like to schedule an appointment.