Do me a favor. Just run your tongue all over your teeth. Feel something hard and smooth? That film is not enamel. It’s a plaque, and it can wreak havoc on your oral hygiene if it is not removed regularly.
How Plaque Forms
When we eat, the food we consume is broken down into simple sugars that the bacteria in our mouth feast on. Like all living organisms, they produce waste, i.e. plaque, which is acidic and can cause cavities and decay if it is not cleaned out.
If the plaque is not cleaned within 48 hours, it hardens and calcifies into tartar which is impossible to remove with a toothbrush or floss. Imagine trying to remove concrete with a piece of thread. That’s how hard tartar can get.
A simple dental cleaning should get rid of the buildup but only if it is done on time. If left untreated, the tartar can get into the gums and cause bleeding and inflammation. This condition is called gingivitis, a dental disease that can poison your bloodstream, clog arteries and wreak havoc on your oral hygiene.
The Effects of Plaque on the Body
Plaque can build up if you don’t brush your teeth regularly or don’t floss. Here are a few ways plaque can affect the rest of the body.
- Extensive plaque buildup can send a signal to the immune system, which then goes into overdrive and causes unnecessary inflammation in the body. If left untreated, prolonged inflammation can lead to premature aging and degenerative diseases.
- Your body will always be trying to fight infections that can wear it down prematurely and leave you vulnerable to disease.
- Chronic inflammation from plaque buildup can lead to heart disease and arthritis.
- Gum disease from tartar buildup can lead to diabetes and aggravate the condition if you already have it. That’s because the disease raises fasting blood sugar.
No home remedy can remove calcified tartar. Think of the scale that develops in your bathtub and you will realize how hard it is to remove without proper tools. The only way to remove it is with a good scrubbing and scraping which only a dentist is experienced enough to do safely.
Plus, no amount of mouth wash can dissolve it either. If you try and remove it yourself using a toothpick or anything sharper, you can damage your tooth enamel and cause injury.
The good news is that you can prevent it from forming by getting rid of plaque before it can calcify. It can harden into tartar in a matter of hours so you will have to work fast. Here are some tips that can increase your chances of removing plaque completely from your mouth:
- Brush at least twice a day or after every meal for at least 2 minutes at a time.
- Use an electronic sonic cleaning toothbrush that can give all the nooks and crevices in your mouth a thorough scrubbing without tiring you out. A battery-powered or smart toothbrush has higher chances of removing plaque than a manual one.
- Brush at an angle and cover the gums as well as the enamel. By holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, you can ensure that the bristles can get between the teeth and gums where the plaque is.
- Pay special attention to where the teeth and the gum line meet in your mouth.
- Use soft and gentle strokes to clean each tooth. Hard brush strokes may damage your teeth and cause bleeding.
- Floss at least once a day to extract leftover food particles. If left untouched, those can stain your teeth and harden to create plaque.
- Replace your toothpaste with one that has fluoride in it. It can strengthen your teeth against acid which can otherwise cause plaque and cavities. However, it should not be kept in the mouth for too long. Brush with a pea-sized portion of toothpaste for 2 minutes and don’t swallow it. Children under the age of 2 should not use it and if your child is 6 years of age or older, only allow them to use the toothpaste if it is recommended by a dentist.
- Brush your tongue after you are done brushing your teeth. This will eliminate bacteria that can cause odor and get rid of food particles from there.
- Eat vegetables and fruit that are high in fiber. These can promote saliva production which in turn cleans out the mouth. Eat some at least 20 minutes after a meal or after consuming anything starchy or full of sugar. As you chew the saliva you produce will reduce the corroding effects of the enzymes and the acids that can otherwise harm your teeth. The calcium and phosphate in the saliva will also make your teeth stronger by replacing the minerals your enamel loses courtesy of the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.
- Include dairy products such as plain yogurt and cheese in your diet. Besides stimulating saliva production, these can also restore tooth enamel.
- See your dentist at least every year for cleaning even if you think you have impeccable oral hygiene. You may miss areas that their tools will not.
- Bacteria that cause plaque thrive on sugar so control that sweet tooth by keeping away from sweet treats.
Plaque can be a plague in your life if it is not treated early. The good news is that with a simple Denticare electric toothbrush or smart toothbrush from Qutek and toothpaste you can save yourself an expensive and painful visit to the dentist. Restoring your oral hygiene is the first (not to mention cost-free) step to a healthier you. Use the tips mentioned in this guide to remain a step ahead of it and keep age and disease at bay at the same time.