Plaque is the invisible enemy of healthy teeth and gums. This slippery, sticky transparent biofilm constantly forms on our teeth and is the product of the combination of saliva, food, and fluids. Packed with bacteria that produce acids that attack tooth enamel and damage our gum, plaque looks harmless, but over time, it can cause irreversible damage to our smile and our oral health.
No matter how careful you are with brushing and flossing, over time, deposits of substances called plaque and tartar will build up on your teeth, particularly in the difficult-to-clean areas. Although this is normal, if these deposits are left to themselves, they can begin to harbor bacteria, which increases the risk of decay.
Avoiding plaque can help you to avoid all manner of dental problems. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to keep plaque at bay.
Brushing your teeth twice each day is the single most valuable thing you can do to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. This is because brushing regularly removes plaque before it has a chance to cause dental problems. Brush once after breakfast and again before bed, each time for at least two minutes. If you have a known case of gingivitis or are particularly prone to cavities, you should brush directly following dinner and again before bed. It is also essential to use good form when brushing. Talk with Dr. Aponte and her expert dental team about the proper brushing motion to ensure you get the most out of your brushing!
Use a soft-bristled brush and apply firm but not hard, consistent pressure when you brush. Electric toothbrushes are proven to remove more plaque than manual varieties, but manual versions work perfectly well when you take your time and brush methodically. Use fluoride toothpaste, as this will strengthen your teeth too.
Remember to floss. We understand that flossing can be quite time-consuming, especially if you find it tricky. Nevertheless, it is a vitally important part of avoiding plaque on teeth. This is because floss gets in the tiny gaps that toothbrush bristles can’t, preventing plaque and tartar from forming there. A box of dental floss runs about $1.25 and lasts around a month. You can even get flavored floss. Or, if you prefer convenience, you can get dental floss on a stick called floss picks. Once you get the hang of it and no longer need the mirror, you can floss while watching TV. So there are no more excuses not to floss! Ideally, you should floss at least once per day, using your preferred type of floss, be it traditional, an interdental brush, or another innovative flossing solution.
And most importantly, remember to drink plenty of water. Water isn’t just crucial for hydration and overall health; it is also a great choice of beverage for protecting your teeth. It doesn’t contain any sugar or colorings that could damage your smile, but it also helps wash away bacteria and food debris before it can cause decay or gum disease. Try to have a glass with every snack or meal.
Need more advice on the best way to protect your teeth from plaque? Don’t hesitate to contact us today.