Plaque is a sticky film that develops on teeth when the bacterium in your mouth mixes with starchy or sugary foods. In the majority of situations, regular brushing and flossing will remove the plaque that forms on your teeth; however, if the plaque isn’t removed, it will harden and become tartar. Dental plaque is made up of several types of bacteria, which can cause cavities and/or lead to gum disease as well as tooth loss. To reduce the risk of gum disease and to help maintain a healthy mouth, it is essential that you understand what causes plaque on teeth and how to remove plaque on teeth.
Plaque on teeth develops when you consume foods that contain sugars and starches (carbohydrates), such as candy or soda. The carbohydrates in certain foods and beverages feed bacteria that live in your mouth, in turn producing acids that eat away at tooth enamel and ultimately causing tooth decay. Dental plaque may also develop under the gums on the tooth roots, which may cause the bone supporting your teeth to break down. When plaque goes untreated, it often hardens into tartar that is extremely difficult to remove. Some of the most common causes of plaque on teeth include:
One of the most common questions people ask is how to remove tartar with a dental pick. It is important to understand that tartar can only be removed by dental professionals by way of professional cleaning. However, you can help remove plaque and food particles from your teeth with a dental pick; a Waterpik generally can’t remove tartar that is adhered to teeth or tartar that is below your gum line. Tartar forms on your teeth after plaque hardens, so it is much more difficult to remove than plaque. Toothpaste that contains tartar control can help destroy the plaque, but it typically will not remove tartar. If you choose to use a tartar remover at home, it is important to keep in mind that doing it incorrectly can injure gum tissue and/or scratch the tooth enamel. To properly do this at home:
Everyone has dental plaque; if you run your tongue across your teeth, and they feel fuzzy, that is plaque. The easiest way to prevent plaque buildup is to brush teeth at least twice a day. It’s best to use a soft; round tip bristled toothbrush and pay close attention to the area where your teeth and gums meet. Dentists also recommend eating a well-balanced diet and are mindful of between-meal snacks. When you do eat snacks, it’s best to eat nutritious foods, such as fresh vegetables, yogurt, and cheese. Along with brushing and eating healthy, good oral health care includes flossing daily, using mouthwash, and chewing sugarless gum, but the most important thing you can do to ensure you maintain healthy teeth and gums is to visit your dentist for routine cleanings and examinations.
To learn more information about what causes plaque on teeth or to schedule an examination, contact Taylorview Dental.