Dental plaque is not only fairly unsightly, when not promptly dealt with it can also adversely affect the health of teeth and gums. Ultimately plaque can lead to gum disease and even tooth loss, so read on to find out how to identify it and how you can effectively remove it.
What is plaque?
Plaque is the sticky film you can see on the surface of your teeth. It can build up over time if you don’t take care of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing.
Although colorless at first it can soon become discolored and end up a yellowish or, in the worst cases, a brownish color. Plaque contains bacteria and it is this which ultimately leads to gum disease. If you are unsure of how to identify plaque your Stockport dentist will be only too happy to advise you during a dental check-up.
How does plaque damage the teeth?
When you have eaten, the bacteria in plaque works in combination with the sugars in your food to produce harmful acids which gradually wear away the protective tooth enamel. If you do nothing to combat this you could end up with tooth decay and cavities (holes in the teeth).
When plaque is not removed it hardens into tartar which provides an ideal place for bacteria to thrive and multiply. The bacterial acids that are in plaque can eventually set up inflammation and infection in your gums, which could then burrow into the bone structures of the jaw. The first signs you may notice that you have gum disease may include redness and swelling of the gums and even bleeding.
All this is easily preventable with good oral hygiene and regular plaque removal but if you are unsure of how to remove plaque effectively your dentist can easily do this for you.
How to remove plaque
Develop a good, regular dental hygiene routine by brushing twice a day and use floss or an interdental cleaning tool to remove particles from between the teeth that could otherwise go on to form plaque deposits.
Brushing your tongue can help to combat bacteria build-up in your mouth. Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging the gums and wearing away tooth enamel and remember to change your toothbrush regularly – don’t wait until the bristles have begun to splay out!
If you have heavy deposits of plaque, look for special kinds of toothpaste which work to remove plaque whilst cleaning the teeth as normal. Household remedies include using a small amount of baking soda or aloe vera.
Baking soda is effective for removing plaque deposits and because it neutralizes the acid in your mouth it helps to prevent a build-up of harmful bacteria. Simply mix a small amount of baking soda with a tiny amount of salt and dip in a damp toothbrush.
Aloe vera is known for its antibacterial properties and is said to be as effective as a good quality mouthwash. Slit an aloe vera leaf to extract the pulp and rub this directly onto the teeth and gums. Leave for ten minutes then rinse out with water.
Coconut oil is another home remedy you could try; swirl a tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes then spit it out and brush your teeth as normal.
Remember that a heavy build-up of plaque can be difficult to remove completely at home so it’s important to keep regular dental check-up appointments where a dental hygienist can work with you to keep plaque under control and help keep your teeth and gums in the best of health.