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How to prevent the buildup of plaque

Posted 23rd May, 2018

Plaque is the sticky film that forms on the surfaces of the teeth when bacteria builds up from consuming sugar or carbohydrates. Bacteria thrives on these types of foods, which increases the production of plaque.

Everyone develops plaque in their mouth during the day but for most people, it’s not noticeable. However, you will be able to feel it’s roughness when you run your tongue over the surface of your teeth and it will become noticeable if you leave it to build up.

If left on your teeth, plaque will turn into tartar which will lead to decay and gum disease. Here’s five tips to help you prevent plaque from building up on your teeth:

Brush twice a day

The main way that you can prevent plaque from building up on and around your teeth is to make sure you are brushing often enough, and in the correct way.

You should be brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes. It is very important that you brush just before you go to bed, and at one other time during the day – we recommend in the morning. You should wait an hour after eating to brush your teeth to prevent any enamel from being brushed away.

We suggest using a soft-bristled toothbrush, as hard bristles can be too rough on your gums. Make sure you replace your toothbrush, or toothbrush head, at least every three months as it won’t work as well once the bristles become worn. You may also find an electric toothbrush more effective at cleaning your teeth than a manual toothbrush.

Floss between your teeth

When you brush your teeth, you are leaving up to 40% of your teeth’s surfaces unclean. It is important that you clean between your teeth to remove any plaque from those areas. Flossing is an easy and effective way of removing debris from between your teeth but you can also us other tools such as interdental brushes.

There is no right or wrong time to floss, you can do it before or after you brush, or even at a completely separate time in the day. As long as you’re flossing once a day, you will be preventing plaque from building up between your teeth.

Swishing mouthwash

Using mouthwash can also contribute to keeping plaque from building up. Swishing mouthwash around your mouth can help to loosen plaque from around the teeth, making it easier to remove.

Some mouthwashes can dry out your mouth, which isn’t good for plaque prevention or keeping your mouth in an overall healthy condition. Speak to your dentist about what mouthwash they would recommend you to use.

Cut back on sugar and starch 

After you eat, there is still sugar particles left in your mouth which bacteria thrive on. The more sugary foods and drinks you consume, the more bacteria and plaque you will need to remove when you brush.

The worst foods that contribute to plaque build-up are:

  • Starchy food like potato crisps and bread
  • Sweets and chocolate
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Alcohol

Try to limit your intake of these types of food and drink. When you do enjoy them, make sure you drink water afterwards to wash away any harmful bacteria. You can also chew sugar-free gum after meal times and snacks.

Visit your hygienist

No matter how good your oral health routine is, you won’t be able to clean your teeth as well as the professionals. It’s important that you book an appointment with the hygienist at least every six months. They will be able to give all areas of your mouth a thorough clean, removing any plaque or tartar that has built up.

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our hygienists or dentists, or would like more information on keeping your teeth free from plaque, call Gwersyllt Dental Care on 01978 757 409.

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