Welcome back to the Salvatore Dental blog! With this blog, we hope to provide our wonderful patients in Malta and Ballston Spa with the information they need to optimize their oral health and to know more about their amazing teeth.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at all things tooth plaque — what it is, why it’s bad for your teeth and oral health, and what you can do to combat plaque buildup, and ultimately keep your mouth happy and healthy!
What Is Tooth Plaque?
We’re all familiar with tooth plaque. In fact, you probably first learned about it when you were a child, and a local dental hygienist visited your school to give your class the rundown on brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist.
But what is it actually? That’s what we’re here to explain. We all know plaque as that clear-to-white substance that makes your teeth feel fuzzy or sticky after you wake up in the morning (or after you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth a little too long). In dental terms, plaque is most commonly referred to as a biofilm, as it consists of millions of bacteria!
Plaque forms over time as we eat, drink, and go about our daily lives, and that’s why it’s so important to brush your teeth daily! In fact, if you fail to remove plaque from your teeth, over time it will harden and become tartar. Once tartar has formed on your teeth, not only does it contribute to tooth discoloration, but it also can only be removed by a dental professional.
While we could get into the nitty-gritty of bacteria that makes plaque, how exactly it forms, and the stages of plaque buildup, we figured we might as well keep it simple, and give you insight as to how plaque can cause oral health issues, and lead to tooth decay.
Why Dental Plaque Is Bad For Your Teeth
As we’ve discussed already, plaque consists of millions of bacteria that create a tooth covering called biofilm. When plaque has had the chance to build up, it then begins to feed itself with sugars from the foods and beverages that you consume day to day. A by-product of the biofilm consuming sugars are acids that play a major role in inciting tooth decay, gingivitis, and eventually gum disease — situations that will not only detract from your quality of life, but also negatively affect your finances through the dental procedures required to deal with them.
How To Prevent Dental Plaque
When it comes to keeping your teeth and mouth healthy, the most basic but important thing you can do is to brush and floss your teeth, twice daily. By simply brushing and flossing, you can do a lot of the heavy lifting in regards to removing daily plaque build up and preventing oral health issues.
Although regular brushing and flossing are the main preventative measures, we think it would be beneficial to share some tips and tricks you can intentionally implement into your oral health routine to ensure you’re doing all you can to manage plaque build ups and to keep your teeth happy and healthy.
Brush And Floss Deliberately
While a lot of plaque that builds up on your teeth can be felt on the front and back of your teeth, there is also plaque building up in tight crevices and hard to reach areas of your mouth. When brushing and flossing, make sure you’re deliberately spending time and attention on the harder to reach, less obvious areas that face plaque build up. Between teeth, around the gumline in the front and back of teeth, and around/behind your molars are all areas that are especially prone to plaque build up considering they’re harder to reach and tighter areas of the mouth.
If you’re not confident that your brushing and flossing is up to par, pick up some disclosing tablets at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Disclosing tablets simply disclose where the plaque has built up on your teeth by staining the plaque red or another easily noticeable color.
A great method is to brush and floss as you usually would, and then utilize a disclosing tablet to see where you missed plaque build ups. This will allow you to have a better idea of where you need to spend more attention during your brushing and flossing routine.
Mouthwash can also be a beneficial preventative measure when it comes to dealing with plaque. While brushing and flossing are required to actually scrub the plaque build up off of your teeth, mouthwash can help by killing off some of the remaining bacteria and fortify the teeth with flouride. That being said, we recommend using a non-alcoholic mouthwash, as alcohol can actually help bacteria grow in your mouth while additionally drying your mouth out.
Finally, you can utilize anti-plaque, fluoride-enriched toothpaste to combat and prevent plaque build up. Additionally, pairing anti-plaque toothpaste with an electric toothbrush will optimize plaque removal and increase the effectiveness of your brushing routine.
Visit Your Dentist
While brushing and flossing correctly are crucial to preventing plaque build up and maintaining a healthy mouth, it’s also important to regularly visit your dentist to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned and get tartar or plaque build ups removed from your mouth.
Dentists have the tools and expertise to locate problem areas in your mouth, and to give areas that are especially prone to or suffering from plaque build up the deep clean they’ve been needing.
In a perfect world, everyone would be able to visit the dentist twice a year to have their teeth cleaned and oral health inspected. However, the unfortunate truth is that many people are not able to do this. At the very least, be certain to visit your dentist at least once a year for a thorough cleaning and plaque removal.
Another priceless benefit of visiting your dentist is that they can give you expert advice as to how to properly care for and maintain your teeth. Again dentists, like the ones you’ll find at Salvatore Dental, know a lot about teeth. They’ll be able to give you insight as to how you can optimally care for your teeth, and steps you need to take to address problem areas that are especially prone to plaque build up.
Salvatore Dental, Serving Malta And Ballston Spa
At Salvatore Dental, we recognize that a healthy mouth is an important factor to living a happy life. We hope that this blog has helped you understand that amazing mouth of yours a little bit more and provided you with some information that will help your keep your mouth at optimal health.
While proper day-to-day dental hygiene can be a major player in keeping your mouth healthy and functional, it’s important that you regularly visit your expert dentists at Salvatore Dental for cleanings and checkups.
If you’re needing to visit our dental experts, feel free to call us and set up your next appointment!