How to Get Rid of Plaque
Plaque is that yucky yellow stuff that builds up on teeth, and makes going to the dentist more of a pain. The bacteria in plaque starts the process that begins to eat away at the protective enamel of your tooth, and pretty soon causes a cavity. That is, if you don't brush regularly to remove the plaque.
Facts about plaque:
- Plaque is colorless, but turns yellow as it ages.
- It can irritate your gums leading to gingivitis, periodontal disease and, potentially, loss of the tooth.
- When plaque builds up and mineralizes or hardens, it forms tartar (called "calculus" by your dentist).
- It only takes 12 days for plaque to harden and form tartar.
- Tartar is too hard to be removed with a toothbrush, so visiting a dentist is necessary.
- Since it's hard to see plaque, you can get red colored "disclosing tablets" from the grocery store that make it visible.
- It's diffcult to get plaque from between teeth, where a brush cannot go. This is why flossing is so important.
- Plaque can break down the gum tissue, which hold the teeth in, over time.
The Best Way to Brush
Brushing and flossing regularly are the surest way to get rid of plaque. The best way to brush is using a circular motion, so as to not abrade the enamel. Dentists recommend that you hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line, and go over one or two teeth at a time. Most people, dentists report, do not know that this is the most effective way to brush. Also, make sure to use a toothpaste with fluoride, as it's the chemical that prevents too decay.
Don't ignore the back teeth, as that is where plaque tends to set up camp and hide. Just because those teeth cannot be seen when you smile, it doesn't mean they are any less important. Another thing to keep in mind is the time you spend on brushing. A good two minutes is needed to effectively brush all the teeth, so don't rush through this daily activity.
When it comes to choosing a toothbrush, many people wrongly choose a large brush. In fact, the smaller hte brush, the better. Smaller heads on brushes allow you to access all of your teeth, including those in the back. They also let you get to all the little spaces that bigger brushes pass over. And soft bristles are the best. If you hate the handiwork involved in brushing, invest in an electric toothbrush. You can get a decent electric toothbrush for around $20.
As for using floss to get rid of plaque, most dentists agree that no one kind is better than another. If your teeth feel better when you use a waxed floss, go for it. If you prefer the unwaxed kind, congratulations. Just make sure when you run the string of floss between your teeth, you do so gently. It's possible to damage gums by slicing them with too strong a hand.
Finally, make sure to keep up on regular visits to the dentist. If you've missed plaque on your teeth, and it's begun to harden, only your dentist can remove the tartar with special tools. Visit the dentist every six months, if possible, to get nasty bacteria off your teeth. Don't be afraid of the dentist. He's only there to help you save your beautiful smile.