Removing Plaque & Tartar
We all love that feeling after we’ve visited the dentist for the first time after a few months. Hygienists can leave our mouths and ourselves feeling clean and refreshed. Yet, it is possible for our mouths to feel this way without the hygienist. If you want your teeth to be sparkly and white all of the time, not just after visiting the dentist, a few minor changes to your everyday life can make sure your teeth sparkle all year round.
Our teeth begin to feel less clean and fresh after visiting the dentist due to a build-up of plaque. Yet, plaque can be controlled and prevented with the correct cleaning of our teeth, as well as a few home remedies and tips, such as diet lifestyle. Allow Dental Arch to share how we can get rid of plaque and keep that hygienist clean feel all year-round.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a build-up of bacteria which accumulates on our teeth. This creates a sticky layer of film which covers our teeth and gums, sometimes with a yellowish tint. Not only is plaque unsightly, but it can also cause tooth decay and gum disease.
How to get rid of plaque
Brushing your teeth well twice a day is the best way to get rid of plaque and preventing plaque from building up. As well as hygiene, other ways you can keep your mouth plaque free is diet and a few lifestyle changes.
Brushing and flossing are fundamental ways to get rid of and prevent plaque build-up.
Flossing is great for getting plaque which is hard to reach with just a toothbrush. You should floss before brushing, every time you brush your teeth. As well as dislodging food in between our teeth, floss can remove plaque which forms along the gum line.
Take 30-40 cm of floss and grip it with both hands. Then, slip the floss between two teeth as far as it will go against the gum. Gently floss with 8-10 strokes to between each tooth, to remove plaque buildup and dislodge any food.
Brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft toothbrush is the most effective way to prevent and remove plaque. Toothbrushes should be replaced every few months. The best way to gauge when a toothbrush needs replacing is when the bristles begin to fray.
Electric toothbrushes are also more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes.
When brushing, just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is needed. The toothbrush should be held at a 45° angle to your gums, then brushed gently but firmly in a circular motion. Be sure to brush every surface of your teeth, including the front, back and where you chew.
A healthy diet benefits our entire body, from our immune system, our bones, skin and even oral health. Some foods and drink, however, are great for preventing plaque build-up in our mouths.
Raw fruit & veg
Fruit and veg are packed with essential nutrients, vitamins and fibre, which are great for general health and even oral health. However, some fresh produce is great for plaque prevention due to their crunchiness.
Apples, celery, and other raw fruit and veg stimulate saliva flow. Saliva is a natural defence against plaque, as it contains antibacterial properties.
Plaque removal home remedies
There are plenty of effective home remedies which combat plaque buildup.
Oils such as coconut oil or olive oil can benefit our teeth and prevent plaque from building up in our mouths. Simply swishing a mouthful of oil around the teeth and gums can remove plaque, as well as soothe sore gums.
Coconut oil, for example, contains fatty acids and anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. These are great for our teeth and preventing plaque.
Baking soda is abrasive, which is fantastic for physically scrubbing away plaque from our teeth. As well as this, it is also a natural cleanser.
Brushing with baking soda not only removes plaque but also prevents plaque from growing back.
Studies have found that smokers tend to develop more plaque and tartar on their teeth than non-smokers. In the long-term, this can lead to issues such as gum disease. The chemicals found in tobacco make it harder for our saliva to naturally clean our mouths, making it easier for plaque to build up on teeth and gums.
Leaving plaque to build-up allows bacteria to create harmful acids through feeding on sugars we eat. This can damage our teeth and cause cavities. A heavy build-up of plaque eventually turns into tartar.
Difference between plaque and tartar
Tartar accumulates on our teeth when a build-up of plaque is not removed. Plaque and tartar are similar, however, tartar is what occurs when plaque hardens.
Tartar is formed when plaque and minerals in our salvia mix, which forms a hard deposit. Tartar can appear above and below the gumline.
How does tartar affect our teeth and mouths?
As tartar is more difficult to remove than plaque, it is more harmful to our teeth and gums. Tartar contains bacteria which can irritate our gums. As tartar is so difficult to remove, this can lead to progressive gum disease, such as gingivitis, if left untreated by a dental professional.
Gums and teeth can also become infected by tartar. In serious cases, tartar can reach between our teeth and gums. Our immune systems try to counter the bacteria found in plaque, which can damage the bones and tissue which hold our teeth in place.
Tartar is much harder than plaque, meaning it is much more difficult to remove. Even brushing and flushing cannot remove tartar.
If tartar forms, it will need to be removed by a dentist. It is removed using the scale and polish technique, which involves the tartar being picked off the teeth.
Once the tartar has been removed, regular brushing, flossing, and dental appointments are the best way to prevent tartar from returning.
Being proactive and caring for your teeth properly is the most effective method of plaque removal and prevention. Plaque can be removed with regular brushing, flossing and also by using an antiseptic mouthwash. We would still recommend twice-yearly visits to the dentist, however, as hygienists can clean our mouths more effectively as well as offer advice and guidance on oral health.
Tartar, however, is more difficult to remove and must be done so by a dental professional. Once removed, regular cleaning and dental visits are the most effective ways of preventing tartar. If left untreated, tartar can cause serious issues such as gum disease and other infections.