That fuzzy feeling in your mouth is more than just irritating—it’s decay-causing plaque. The bacteria in plaque cause infection and produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel, which results in cavities. What can you do to reduce the risks associated with plaque buildup? Take a look at the top ways to minimize and manage this dental dilemma.
Brush Your Teeth
Regular brushing is the easiest way to defend against plaque buildup. Brushing physically removes the sticky bio film from your teeth, which reduces the total number of cavity-causing bacteria.
Even though brushing is a simple solution to your plaque problem, you need to use the correct technique. This includes:
- Brush twice a day. Morning and night-time brushing help to remove the plaque and debris that accumulate during the day when you’re active and eating and while you’re sleeping.
- Use a 45-degree angle. Place the brush at this diagonal angle for the best results.
- Clean all surfaces. Don’t skip the tops and backs of your teeth. Plaque can develop anywhere, not just on the front of your teeth.
- Brush for two minutes. You need a full two minutes to clean your whole mouth.
Along with these strategies, brush after meals — especially after eating or drinking sugary food and beverages. This removes the debris and stops plaque from starting.
Plaque doesn’t just stick to the visible surfaces of your mouth. Without proper care, this sticky substance can strike in between the teeth. While proper (and regular) brushing reduces the amount of plaque between your teeth and near the gumline, flossing can get down deep into the areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
To properly floss your teeth:
- Use enough floss. Most adults need about 18 inches of floss.
- Anchor the floss. Wind the floss around one finger on each hand, providing a steady base. Move the floss, unwinding a clean area, when one part becomes dirty or debris-covered.
- Gently rub. Avoid popping, pushing, snapping the floss against your gums. This can damage the sensitive tissue. Instead, gently guide the floss using a rubbing motion.
- Get the gums. Don’t stop when the floss reaches the gumline. Gently curve the floss against each tooth.
- Choose for comfort. A variety of different types and tastes of floss are available. Choose what works for your mouth.
Never reuse floss. Not only is used floss less effective but it may harbor bacteria (or other microorganisms) on it.
While you don’t have to completely stop eating anything with sugar, these foods contribute to plaque buildup and the resulting dental decay. Limit the quantity (or regularity) of sugar-filled food to reduce the risks of plaque.
Along with limiting obvious cavity-causers (such as candy, cookies, and other baked goods), pay attention to how much of these foods or beverages you eat and drink:
- Bread. Carb-heavy foods, such as bread, are filled with sugar. When mixed with saliva, bread debris can stick to your teeth or wedge its way in between them.
- Soda. These beverages bathe your teeth in sugar, leaving behind a sticky film.
- Potatoes. Potatoes and potato products, such as chips, are starchy. Like bread, potatoes easily stick to and in between teeth — creating the perfect environment for dental decay.
- Fruit juice. Fruit juices are typically high in sugar, which gives them a high plaque building risk.
Don’t assume that only unhealthy foods and beverages cause plaque buildup. Fruits — fresh, dried, and frozen — are carbohydrates. That means they’re also high in sugar. Again, limiting intake — along with proper brushing and flossing — can reduce the likelihood of fruit-related plaque.
A professional dental cleaning removes plaque buildup that brushing can’t. Have you visited the dentist recently? Contact Accent Dental to schedule your next cleaning.