What is Dental Plaque and how to get rid of it ?

Have you ever noticed a sticky coating on your teeth when you have just woken up in the morning? Well, that is dental plaque and we are here to tell you more about it and most importantly how to get rid of it. So let us begin! 

What is plaque? 

Plaque is a collection of bacteria and other microbes surrounded by a colorless sticky polymer layer that builds up on our teeth. The sticky layer helps the microbes to stay attached to our teeth and grow in numbers. It is also called biofilm by scientists and doctors. Plaque forms daily on our teeth.  

Why is plaque not good for the teeth? 

The bacteria in the plaque attack the food that we eat and break down the carbohydrates in our food for their own sustenance. In this process they also produce a by product which is acid. These acids attack the hard outermost layer of our teeth, the enamel and erode it.  Erosion of enamel can lead to development of cavities and loss of enamel is irreplaceable. Enamel once lost cannot be regenerated. 

Furthermore, plaque can harden if not removed in a timely manner. When plaque is not removed it can accumulate minerals from our saliva and harden into a substance known as the tartar. Tartar is yellow or off white in color and it builds up along the gum lines on the front side as well as the back side of the teeth.  

Plaque is easier to get rid off than tartar. You may remove some tartar at home with some good hard flossing but tartar removal generally needs an intervention from the dentist. It is important to get rid of plaque for the health of not just the teeth but also the gums. 

How can I get rid of plaque?  

Here are some simple things you can do to remove the daily build-up of plaque – 

  1. The easiest and simplest way to get rid of plaque is brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. You should use a soft bristled toothbrush and if the bristles are frayed change it. Either way replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Read our blog titled How to choose your toothbrush for more details. Electric toothbrushes with oscillating heads have been found to been very good at removing plaque. 
  1. The bacteria in our mouth love to feast on carbohydrates so reduce the intake of such food items and this will help in less plaque build-up. In case you do happen to eat sugary stuff and sodas, rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth.  
  1. Flossing is critical to remove plaque and even at times tartar. You can use the regular dental floss or even a water flosser which uses a water jet to clean the areas between the teeth. Read our blog on the subject called Water Flossing if you are interested to know more. There are interdental brushes and dental picks also available in the market that can be used for flossing. These are especially useful for people find it difficult to floss using the regular ones and people with braces on. 
  1. Another way to prevent plaque build up is to get rid of the bacteria in the mouth. A good rinse can do just that. Studies have shown that there is considerable reduction in plaque build-up when people use a mouthwash along with daily brushing and flossing. You can try using an herbal or a probiotic mouthwash if your have aversion to using chemical-based mouthwashes. 
  1. Oil pulling is a simple way to get rid of bacteria in the mouth. Oil pulling technique generally involves using warm coconut oil (known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties).  In this technique warm coconut oil is used to rinse the mouth for 5 to 10 minutes pretty much like one does with a mouthwash. 
  1. Some non-traditional and new techniques are being studied and may be in the offing for controlling plaque in the near future. These include- 
  1. Cranberries have proven to be effective in getting rid of some of the bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities under lab conditions. The same is yet to be tested in a human mouth so talk to your dentist if you should include cranberries in your diet. 
  1. Studies have shown toothpaste containing baking soda is effective in reducing the plaque as compared to the usual fluoride toothpastes. 
  1. Lastly make sure you go for regular dental checkups. No matter how good our oral hygiene routine is, we still need help from the professionals once in a while to make sure our teeth are completely clean and healthy. Schedule your visits at least twice a year with your family dentist. Visiting the dentist every 6 months for removal of plaque and tartar will help you prevent any further problems for your teeth and gums. 

In conclusion we can only say that we cannot avoid plaque build up completely but we can eat healthy to reduce it and practice good oral hygiene to get rid of any plaque that is formed. The above steps are simple to do but need to be done consistently to ensure good oral health. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog and will not only share with your family and friends but also recommend it. You can also follow us on instagram for offers, deals and more fun stuff. Our instagram handle is @ensuredentalcaresaginawtx. We look forward to interacting with you on the instagram soon.  

If you have any dental queries, you can always call Ensure Dental Care on 940-274-3229 for more information or to schedule an appointment. We are the family dentist near you. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have in house payment plan. We have a very experienced and professional team of dental practitioners and we look forward to serving you to the best of our abilities.