Plaque: A Mouth’s Worst Enemy

Dec 16, 2013

By definition, plaque is the sticky soft white substances that forms in the region where your teeth and gums meet. It consists of bacteria that are constantly forming on your teeth.  It is the primary contributor to the development of periodontal gum disease such as gingivitis. If left, plaque will harden into a substance known as tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a dental professional, as no amount of brushing and flossing will get rid of it.

Plaque uses proteins and sugars from food and drink we consume to produce acid which leaches minerals from your teeth, causing tooth decay. The result begins with cavities, gingivitis, and can advance to later stages of periodontal disease that can eventually even harm your jaw bone. There are simple ways you can fight and prevent this from occurring.

The general recommendation as from the American Dental Association is to brush twice a day using a fluoride based toothpaste, as well as flossing once a day. However, many Americans sometimes neglect to floss due to the extra time it may take from one’s daily routine. Flossing can reach up to 30 percent of your tooth surface area that could otherwise go untouched by simply brushing twice a day. As such, it is highly recommended to floss daily.

The order in which you do it is said to not particularly matter, but a general practice to follow is floss, brush, and rinse in that order. The reason you floss first is to open up gaps between your teeth that are otherwise closed. This way when you brush, fluoride from the toothpaste can reach a greater surface area of your teeth. Finally, use a fluoride based alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse with after brushing. This helps with removing any remaining plaque while also aiding in remineralizing your teeth by prolonging their exposure to fluoride.

Along with maintaining proper dental hygiene and keeping with the ADA’s recommendations, you should also have your teeth checked up twice a year by a dental professional. A dentist or dental hygienist can help you remove plaque from areas you may have neglected and also remove tartar that might have formed in your mouth.

If you have any problem dealing with plaque or tartar, contact the experienced general and pediatric dentists of Limetime Smiles. We offer free consultations for restorative cleanings for patients of all ages in the greater Austin area.

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