What Is Dental Plaque? How To Prevent Them?

Dental plaque checkup

Tooth decay is one of the most popular health problems, and anybody can experience it at any time, especially if oral hygiene isn’t strong enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you don’t look after your teeth and gums regularly and properly, your mouth will be filled with harmful bacteria, and bacteria can cause your teeth to rot away. 

Bacteria is what is contained in dental plaque. Dental plaque is a term that you’ll have likely heard about. If you haven’t, then it is important that you do because understanding what it is and how to prevent dental plaque from building up in your teeth and gums is important dental knowledge you need to know so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from damaging your smile.

So, what is dental plaque, and how do you prevent it from building up into something more harmful? Well, this question will be answered right here, from learning about what dental plaque is to measures on how to prevent it.

Let’s get started!

What is Dental Plaque?

When you smile in the mirror in the morning, if you see a pale sticky biofilm substance that is coating your teeth, then this is bacteria-filled dental plaque. Harmful bacteria begin to build and form into plaque, which eventually begins to harden itself under the gum line and form tartar (calculus). 

When dental plaque begins to penetrate, the enamel starts to get exposed. This is the first stage of a tooth cavity, which is a tiny hole or opening those forms in the core of the tooth.  When a cavity forms, you’re entering dangerous territory, where tooth decay begins to develop through acid and bacteria combining to form an acid attack. This surpasses your enamel and begins to expose the inner layer of your teeth, known as the dentin. The dentin contains microscopic tubules that act as protection for your enamel. When this is exposed, the nerves and cells are stimulated inside the tooth, causing sensitivity to hot and cold foods you eat.

Eventually, the harmful bacteria will cause your teeth to rot, impacting the gum and underlying bone structure, which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.

How Does Dental Plaque Build Up?

If you’re a regular consumer of sugar and starchy foods such as candy, sodas, bread and pasta, you’re introducing potentially harmful bacteria into the mouth. Typically, it takes about 24 to 72 hours for dental plaque to build. However, it can build even faster than that if you’re regularly consuming carbohydrates and sugars throughout the day and you’re not rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth.

When dental plaque begins to build and harden, it will require a trip to the dentist for a professional clean. Smokers are also susceptible to dental plaque and tartar buildup.

How Can I Prevent Dental Plaque Build Up?

In terms of limiting and reducing the build-up of dental plaque, you need to take the necessary lifestyle changes that cater to keeping your teeth and gums clean throughout the day and at night.

Here are the steps you can take right now to prevent dental plaque from building:

  • Brushing Your Teeth – Brushing your teeth when you wake up and at night are two basic yet fundamental steps to perform. Your mouth needs to remain clean before you sleep and throughout the day. There is also an appropriate technique you need to follow to gently stroke the toothbrush against your teeth. Consult your dentist at a check-up if you’d like to know more.
  • Flossing – Flossing is an underrated yet less-than-performed oral hygiene tip that helps to remove any stubborn food deposits that cannot be removed with a toothbrush. It is recommended that you floss your teeth first before brushing your teeth so that all food deposits are removed from the tooth gaps.
  • Drink Water – Water contains traces of fluoride that keep your enamel strong. Always drink water throughout the day to remain hydrated. Replace any sodas and juices with water as part of a meal as well.
  • CalciumRich Foods – Food that contains calcium, a mineral that also strengthens your enamel. Instead of eating sugars and starch, replace your choices with healthy options such as leafy green vegetables and fruit and protein options such as tofu and fish.
  • Avoid Snacking At Night – If you snack at night just before you go to bed, it is recommended that you don’t do this because the mouth will contain food deposits. As you sleep, this will accumulate into harmful bacteria and build into dental plaque. 
  • Keep Saliva Levels Strong – Apart from drinking water, another option to keep your salivary glands moist is chewing on sugar-free gum. This helps to wash away food deposits and keep your digestion levels high.

Are you struggling to shake dental plaque off of your teeth and you require a professional clean at the dentist, then get in touch with your dentist today and check yourself in for an appointment!

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