Even with regular professional oral checkups and taking care of your teeth in between visits at home, bacteria still form in your mouth. Proteins and food byproducts mix to form a film on your teeth called dental plaque.
Only a dental professional can remove plaque from your teeth once it has formed. Visiting your dentist every six months eliminates tartar and plaque that might have formed and prevents further problems. Preventing plaque buildup on your teeth is not that hard. It requires following a daily routine, limiting your daily sugar and starch intake, and drinking plenty of water after eating. Here’s how to get started on a daily plaque-prevention routine:
- Brush every day. To remove plaque and prevent tartar, brush regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Toothpaste. A tartar-control fluoride toothpaste helps prevent plaque from hardening into tartar. The fluoride helps repair enamel damage.
- Floss. Clean between your teeth. No matter how well you brush, flossing is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep tartar out of hard-to-reach spaces.
- Rinse daily. Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash daily helps destroy bacteria that leads to plaque.
Plaque can build up if not removed through regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. The associated bacteria can infect your teeth and gums, and also the bone and gum tissue that support your teeth.
Keeping Dental Plaque at Bay
Dental plaque is a natural result of eating. It will eventually harden into tartar if it’s not removed by a professional. If you cannot brush between meals, rinse your mouth out with water to help reduce plaque acids. Chewing sugarless gum stimulates the flow of saliva and is also beneficial. Choose products containing xylitol, which is a low-calorie sweetener that helps prevent plaque.