What is plaque and how can I get rid of it?

What is plaque and how can I get rid of it?

Did you know that in the olden days, people used to think that tooth loss was due to old age? Nowadays, we know that tooth loss is actually due to bacteria and it’s preventable. In this blog post, we’ll discuss bacteria and the form they take on your teeth – plaque.

What is plaque?

According to livescience.com, plaque is “a microbial biofilm, a community of microorganisms found on a tooth surface”. In simpler words, plaque is bacteria. It forms when bacteria come into contact with sugar in your diet.

How can I tell if I have plaque?

It can be very difficult to tell if you have plaque just by looking at your teeth – that’s because plaque is almost invisible. One quick way you can check though is by feeling your teeth. Your teeth should feel smooth. If they feel rough and slimy instead, then there’s probably plaque.

A more reliable way to check if you have plaque is by using disclosing tablets. When you chew one of these tablets, the plaque on your teeth will be dyed bright red thereby making it clearly visible. You can find disclosing tablets at most pharmacies. Try using a disclosing tablet next time you brush to find out how good your brushing technique really is!

What are the effects of plaque?

Some types of plaque cause cavities, while other types of plaque cause gum disease. Then there’s also tartar, which is a more advanced stage of plaque. We’ll go over each problem in turn.

  • Cavities. Plaque causes cavities, which are small holes in your teeth. The first signs of cavities are a toothache and tooth sensitivity. However, early cavities are usually symptomless, which is why it’s a good idea to go to the dentist every six months so that you can catch cavities early.
  • Gum disease. Plaque also causes gum disease. The first signs of gum disease are red or bleeding gums. If the gum disease isn’t treated, then it can damage your gums and eventually lead to tooth loss.
  • Tartar. Tartar is basically the second stage of plaque. Once plaque gets stuck on your teeth, it hardens and mineralises over time, becoming tartar. Tartar is easier to spot them plaque because it’s usually yellow or brown, whereas plaque is invisible. Another difference between the two is that plaque is easy to remove from your teeth while tartar is very difficult. In fact, you won’t be able to get remove tartar just by flossing and brushing. Instead, the only way to remove tartar is with a professional cleaning

How can I get rid of plaque?

Don’t worry, there’s a number of things you can do to get rid of plaque. Just follow these tips:

  • Brush your teeth. First and foremost, you should be brushing your teeth and gums twice a day for two minutes at a time. Don’t brush too hard though because you could prematurely wear down your enamel and gums. And remember to use fluoride toothpaste, because fluoride helps protect your teeth from cavities.
  • Floss. Floss daily to remove food and plaque from between your teeth.
  • Receive regular dental check-ups. Visit a dentist for a check-up regularly. The dentist will be able to remove any plaque and tartar with a professional cleaning known as a scale and polish.
  • Avoid sugary foods. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth which in turn can cause plaque. So avoid sugary foods!

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