Your 5 Step Plan for Plaque PreventionSaturday, February 14th, 2015, 7:54 pm
Yes, you can prevent dental plaque if you have a plan and stick to it. Plaque is a buildup of bacteria on your teeth – you probably know it as that “fuzzy” feeling when you haven’t brushed in a while.
When plaque is left on teeth for too long it hardens into a substance called calculus which is much harder to remove than the soft, slimy plaque. Bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay thrive in this environment. How do you prevent plaque problems?
- Brush your teeth twice each day. Use a soft-bristle brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you get all areas of your mouth, including the front and back of teeth, gums, tongue and inside of the cheeks. “Brushing twice daily prevents plaque from forming in the first place and disrupts any plaque that has already started to form…” shared Dr. JoAnne Gurenlian of Idaho State University.
- Floss! Cleaning between the teeth has a major impact on oral health (which can affect overall health). Floss once each day – interdental brushes, water flossers or floss handles count!
- Rinse it away. Mouth rinse and mouth wash are not the same thing. Mouthwash is usually sugar-filled, minty tasting stuff. Anti-bacterial rinses are a different animal and can actually help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. Using a mouth rinse may reduce plaque buildup more than brushing and flossing alone.
- Watch what you eat. Sticky, sugary foods cling to your teeth and are hard to remove. “If sugar is not removed from your teeth shortly after you eat it, plaque uses it to help create tooth decay” says Dr. Gurenelian. If you eat candy, raisins or granola bars you want to get that sugar off your teeth as soon as possible. If you can’t brush immediately, try chewing sugar free gum containing xylitol. The chewing action scrubs at the food debris and the xylitol has been shown to inhibit bacteria growth.
- Get your teeth cleaned regularly. Visit the dentist for a dental hygiene visit at least every six month (more often if you have active gum disease). Your dentist and hygienist can keep an eye on your healthy mouth and spot any oral disease before it becomes a problem.
If your teeth feel like they are wearing a fuzzy sweater it is time to get them cleaned! Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.