Prevent oral health issues by removing plaque at home.
Dental plaque sure doesn’t sound like something you want in your mouth, as it’s a sticky bacterial film that’s constantly forming on your teeth. The bacteria in the foods and beverages you eat produce acids that, when left on your teeth for long periods of time, destroy tooth enamel, leading to cavities, tooth pain, and gum disease. And the truth is the sooner you can remove plaque from your mouth, the better.
This same dental plaque can also develop under your gums, breaking down the bones that support the teeth in your mouth. When this plaque is left untreated and isn’t cleared away, it can turn into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. So, how can you remove dental plaque at home before it develops into tartar? Read on for the inside scoop.
How do you remove dental plaque at home?
The best thing you can do to keep dental plaque from building up on your teeth is to practice a good oral care routine daily. Dentists recommend the following:
Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush. The best time to brush your teeth is after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to brush for two minutes at a time using a fluoridated toothpaste.
Floss between each tooth at least once per day, preferably before bedtime. Though many patients like to floss after meals to remove food particles that have become stuck between the teeth and gums, once a day is enough to do great things for your oral health.
Rinse your mouth at least once a day after flossing using a fluoridated mouthwash. Gargling and rinsing with mouthwash helps rinse away the food particles loosened during flossing and also helps kill bacteria in your mouth, freshen your breath, strengthen your teeth, and prevent gum disease.
How can I prevent plaque from developing on my teeth?
We can’t stress enough the importance of incorporating an excellent oral care routine into your day. Dental plaque can harden within just two days of formation, so skipping even one vital toothbrushing can wreak havoc on your teeth. Aside from practicing a good oral care routine, you should see your dentist at least once every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination. During a dental cleaning, your dentist can scrape away hardened plaque and tartar (otherwise known as calculus) with specialized tools.
What deficiencies cause plaque development on teeth?
The most common vitamin deficiencies that impact teeth are calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. A calcium deficiency, known as hypocalcemia, can increase your risk of tooth decay and tooth brittleness. A lack of vitamin D can increase your likelihood of developing cavities. And too little vitamin B12 can increase your risk of developing periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease.
Need more calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 in your diet? Make sure you consume an adequate amount of these items each day.
- For calcium: dairy products, like milk, yogurt, and cheese
- For vitamin D: salmon, swordfish, tuna fish, fortified cereals, or a supplement
- For vitamin B12: fish and shellfish, red meat, dairy, poultry, eggs, or a supplement
What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?
When plaque is not removed daily, tartar starts to accumulate. Brushing twice a day combined with flossing and rinsing with mouthwash helps prevent the plaque from hardening into tartar. Once the plaque becomes tartar, only your dentist can remove it.
How can I get rid of tartar or calculus?
Only your dentist can remove tartar buildup on your teeth. So, to keep tartar from building up in the first place, you should ensure you brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and rinse daily with a fluoridated mouthwash.
What tools will my hygienist use to remove plaque and tartar?
If you have plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth because you could not remove plaque at home, your hygienist will use a special dental scaler to scrape the tartar deposits from the surface of each tooth. They may also use a unique mirror to ensure that no spots on your teeth are missed.
Keep up with your at-home dental regimen, and be sure to visit your dentist every six months.
By adopting the home oral care routine we suggested above, you are taking the necessary steps to remove dental plaque at home. But it is essential to know that you should still plan to see your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and oral examination to remove the plaque you can’t get rid of on your own. Your family dentist near University Park Middletown can help. Request an appointment on our website or give us at (513) 540-3183.