Plaque on Teeth: How to Get Rid of It?

This is a phrase that people often look up on Google, and for good reason! Plaque causes bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Plaque on your teeth is not a good thing. If you want to keep your mouth healthy, you should know how to get rid of it and what happens if you don’t.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a soft, white or yellowish-white film that builds up on the teeth. Plaque buildup is a constant process that happens in everyone’s mouth every day. Plaque on teeth is made up of bacteria that can cause disease, food particles, and cells from the tissue that lines the inside of the mouth.

Plaque can build up anywhere in the mouth, but it is most common in places that are protected. The plaque often hides in the small space between the teeth and gums, as well as in the spaces between the teeth.

Why is Plaque Dangerous?

Plaque is not dangerous in and of itself, but the bacteria it contains is. They cause cavities, which are holes in the teeth, and gum disease, which is damage to the tissues that hold the teeth in place. People often don’t know that both cavities and gum disease are caused by bacteria.

How Plaque Causes Cavities?

Some of the bacteria in dental plaque can break down the enamel, which is the hardest material in the human body. They do this by breaking down simple carbohydrates to make strong acids (sugars). Acid can soften and etch glass just like it can soften and weaken enamel, which lets bacteria get into the tooth and spread. A cavity is an infection of the hard parts of a tooth caused by bacteria.

How Plaque Causes Gum Disease?

There are also bacteria in dental plaque that destroy the tissues that hold the teeth in place and are around the teeth. They do this by making chemicals that get into the gum tissues. When these toxins are found in the body, they cause inflammation. In the beginning, this inflammation is good. It lets you know that something is wrong by making your gums red, swollen, and bleed.

If you ignore it, though, the inflammation goes from being good to being bad and from being short-term to being long-term. Chronic inflammation is harmful because it breaks down the jawbone, ligaments, and gums that hold the teeth in place. This is what happens when gum disease is not treated. The teeth become loose and fall out.

How do I get rid of plaque?

Plaque removal is simple and inexpensive. With good brushing and flossing techniques, the soft plaque is easy to get off the teeth. All that is needed is hard work and consistency. If you take care of your teeth, you can avoid having to pay for and deal with dental disease.

To get rid of plaque well, you should brush your teeth twice a day, preferably right after breakfast to start the day and right before bed. Even if you brush your teeth twice a day and do it wrong, you could still leave a lot of plaque on your teeth. A good way to brush is to move the toothbrush in a circular motion so that the bristles touch every exposed surface of every tooth. There’s no need to move back and forth the hard way. Plaque is soft enough that it can be taken off with just a light touch.

Plaque must also be removed by flossing since toothbrush bristles can’t get into the space between two teeth. The best way to floss is to wrap the floss around each side of each tooth in a C shape and move it in a vertical motion to physically scrape away any plaque stuck to the side of the teeth. If you’re not sure how this works, ask Phyllis and Nancy to show you the next time they clean your teeth, or look up “C-Shaped Flossing Technique” on YouTube.

What Happens If I Don’t Take Plaque Off?

When plaque stays on the teeth, it starts to harden into a new substance called tartar or calculus. No matter what you do, you can’t get rid of this hardened buildup with a toothbrush or floss. For your dentist or dental hygienist to get rid of tartar buildup on your teeth, they need to use special dental tools.

Tartar is just as likely to cause disease as plaque, and it can cause both cavities and gum disease. Tartar often builds up under the gums, where you can’t see, feel, or get rid of it. (You might be able to smell it. Bad breath is often caused by tartar building up in deep pockets of the gums.)

When tartar builds up under the gums, only a dental procedure called scaling and root planing can get rid of it. During scaling and root planing, which is often called a “deep cleaning,” your dental hygienist will remove all bacterial buildup (plaque and tartar) from your teeth, including the areas under your gums. The goal is to leave the roots under the gums perfectly clean so that the supporting tissues can reattach to them. It stops the progression of chronic disease and gives the body time to heal and rebuild.

Why Can’t I Have a “Regular” Teeth Cleaning?

When you need deep cleaning, a “regular” cleaning of your teeth is no longer an option. This is because a “regular” cleaning wouldn’t get rid of the bacteria that build up under the gums, so the disease would just keep getting worse. Not only will a “regular” cleaning not stop the problem, but it might also give you a false sense of security that nothing is wrong when, in fact, you have gum disease that is still getting worse.

A “regular” cleaning of the teeth, which is called prophylaxis, is a type of preventive dentistry. As dentists, we say that a prophy is only meant to prevent gum disease, not to treat it. When gum disease is present, scaling and root planing is the only way to stop it and get the mouth healthy again.

Still Have Questions About Plaque & Cleaning?

Call Dr. Motiwala’s Dental Clinic and Implant Center right away to set up an appointment for an evaluation. He can look at your current situation and talk to you about what kind of teeth cleaning you need to stay healthy or get healthy again.

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