You know that dental plaque is bad. You know it leads to oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Still, you might not be aware of exactly what plaque is and how it leads to oral health issues. A dentist in Creve Coeur is here to provide the lowdown on plaque and give you some tips to stop this substance from harming your smile.
Dental plaque is a sticky biofilm that is constantly forming on your teeth and gums. It is usually clear, but sometimes it has a pale yellow hue to it. It contains countless bacteria. As the bacteria combine with other substances in your mouth — such as sugar — they produce harmful acid. The acid, in turn, attacks the tooth enamel and leads to cavities. Plaque can also cause inflammation of the gum tissue and cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
No one is immune to dental plaque. You can find out how much plaque is on your teeth by picking up some plaque-disclosing tablets at your local pharmacy. As you chew a tablet, it will stain the plaque. You might be shocked by how much of it is in your mouth!
How to Get Rid of Plaque
When plaque first forms, it is soft and relatively easy to get rid of. You just have to be sure to stick to a thorough oral hygiene routine. Here are some tips on how to maintain a clean, plaque-free mouth:
- Spend about two minutes brushing your teeth twice a day. Don’t forget to brush the backs of your teeth and the area along the gum line.
- Floss at least once a day. Your toothbrush cannot adequately clean the tight spaces between your teeth, but floss can.
- If you have misaligned teeth, invest in orthodontic treatment so your teeth are easier to clean.
- Sip on lots of water to rinse away food particles that might be lingering in your mouth.
What If I Miss a Spot?
Even if you have excellent oral hygiene habits, there might be small patches of plaque that you do not get rid of. Eventually, they will harden into a substance called tartar, and tartar is impossible to remove with your at-home dental tools. That’s why regular preventive visits to your family dentist in Creve Coeur are so important. The hygienist will remove both plaque and tartar from your mouth and give you personalized advice on how to take your daily oral care routine to the next level. If plaque and tartar have already led to a cavity, your dentist can prevent the decay from worsening with a filling.
Plaque is your oral health’s enemy! Use the above tips to fight this harmful substance and maintain a clean, cavity-free smile.
About Our Dentists
Drs. James and Jenna Feigenbaum are a father-daughter team of dentists who serve residents of Creve Coeur and the greater St. Louis area. They provide a range of services, including preventive and restorative care. If you would like their help to keep your teeth and gums in the best shape possible, contact our office today at 314-567-1777.