Do your teeth ever feel not-so-fresh? Have you ever wondered why you have that bad taste in your mouth? Have your teeth ever felt like they are coated in a slimy substance? What does plaque have to do with any of it, and why is it harmful? These can all occur in the mouth of anyone who eats food. Is that you? Do you eat food? Then we’re talking to you. That not-so-fresh feeling in your mouth is often leftover food that has decided to camp out on your teeth. If left behind and ignored, that leftover food can turn into plaque on your teeth. And plaque is bad for your teeth. But why? What is plaque, and why is removing plaque from teeth so important?
What is plaque?
When water and flour mix together, they form a paste. It’s much like this when your saliva and leftover food particles mix together in your mouth. The paste is called plaque, and it holds lots of bad bacteria. The bacteria in plaque is what causes things like gum disease and tooth decay that leads to cavities.
The most major ingredient in plaque is carbohydrates. These are found in most any food that you eat–even fruits and vegetables. So, it’s basically true that if you eat food, you deal with dental plaque. Simply sticking to good dental care is essential because letting it “live” there can be very harmful. But, we’ll get to that in a bit.
Why is plaque harmful?
Without removing plaque from teeth, lots of problems can occur. You have a limited window of time to remove plaque before the damage sets in—about 48 hours before it begins to harden on your teeth to eventually form tartar.
Plaque on your teeth starts a deadly chain reaction for the health of your gums and mouth. Plaque begins to erode tooth enamel. Once the enamel begins to erode, the bacteria start to settle into your teeth and start breaking them down—or causing decay. This rotting action in your teeth leads to bad breath, cavities, gingivitis (bleeding gums), and can even settle into the roots of your teeth and cause the teeth’s supporting bones to begin breaking down.
Removing plaque from teeth
The name of the game in removing plaque from teeth is prevention. You can keep plaque from building up and causing erosion of your tooth enamel by simply following a regular dental hygiene routine. Brush twice a day, floss, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash. Electronic toothbrushes are an effective option. Schedule and keep your routine dental check-ups every six months, to get a thorough cleaning and to check the health of your teeth and gums.
Sorry—there’s no cheating on this one, either. Gum, mints, and mouthwash are no substitute for brushing and flossing when it comes to removing plaque from teeth. Skipping your regular dental routine even just once can start the process of tooth decay.
The good news is that while plaque will always be a problem, there are plenty of simple solutions for removing plaque from teeth. Once you build your routine and make it a habit, you will find it easy to maintain.