Some of the biggest enemies to your oral health are dental plaque and tartar. The primary reason why you brush and floss is to keep these two substances in check. In this article, you’ll discover what plaque and tartar are, how to prevent their buildup and what you can do when problems associated with plaque and tartar arise.
Dental Plaque Defined
The soft, sticky film which accumulates on your teeth is called dental plaque. This biofilm varies in appearance from a colorless substance to looking pale yellow. As saliva, food and other fluids in your mouth combine, they produce bacterial deposits which accumulate in the spaces where your teeth and gums meet.
The bacteria in that plaque generate acidic wastes which can damage your teeth and gums. This damage can progress to a level where it becomes permanent. Dr. Fardi Farhat warns that when plaque isn’t removed promptly, it can become tartar, cause tooth decay and gum disease.
The Connection Between Dental Plaque and Tartar
As time passes, mineral deposits are added to the plaque on your teeth and it will start to harden. This process takes between 24-72 hours. Once it hardens, it becomes tartar and cannot be removed at home by brushing or flossing. Professional help is needed to get rid of tartar.
Research estimates that about 68 percent of all American adults have calculus (tartar). This hard substance is brown or yellow and bonds to the tooth enamel. Experts at Dental One Care reveal that individuals who suffer from dry mouth, have crowded teeth, wear braces, smoke or are advanced in age are more likely to develop tartar. The older one gets, the faster tartar can buildup on the teeth.
How to Spot Dental Plaque’s Early Signs
We asked our friend, Dr. Kristina Neda, a dentist in Georgetown, KY, about plaque and tartar. Dr. Neda says that it isn’t easy to tell that you have this substance on your teeth. She recommends that you maintain a strict oral hygiene routine of brushing at least two times each day and flossing once every day. In addition to that, visit Dental One Care every six months for professional dental cleanings and checkups.
The dentist will detect any plaque and tartar accumulations during those visits and use different tools, such as a dental scaler, to remove the buildup.
IThe dental visits also give you an opportunity to get brushing and flossing tips in order to deal with any problem areas noticed by the dentist or hygienist attending to you.
Dr. Farhat, a dentist in Sterling Heights, suggests that you use plaque disclosing tablets if you want to identify where plaque is accumulating in your mouth while at home. Stains will show in all the places where plaque is present, so you can use this information to pay special attention to those areas while you brush. Don’t worry about the stains from the tablets; they will be removed as you brush.
Complications Related to Plaque and Tartar
It is important to get rid of plaque, otherwise, the acids produced by the plaque bacteria will eat away at your teeth and cause cavities. Additionally, your gums are likely to become inflamed if plaque isn’t eliminated. This gum inflammation is called gingivitis. The presence of plaque in your mouth will also eventually give you bad breath.
Steps to Stop Plaque and Tartar from Accumulating
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. Such toothpaste will fight the bacteria responsible for the formation of plaque.
- Visit Dental One Care every six months. The professional dental care you receive routinely will reduce the likelihood of developing dental diseases related to the buildup of plaque.
- Floss once each day and talk to a dentist in Sterling Heights, MI about helpful tips to cover all the surfaces between your teeth. Try different products, such a water flosser until you find what gives you optimum results.
- Upgrade to an electric toothbrush and change its head every three months. Electric toothbrushes do a better job of getting rid of plaque because they deliver thousands of cleaning strokes each minute.
- Stop smoking or manage this habit so that you can reduce the amount of the chemicals which accelerate the formation of plaque and tartar.
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash. Select a brand that provides full-spectrum protection from oral bacteria for at least 24 hours.
It is important for you to take a proactive approach when keeping your teeth free from plaque and tartar. Brush, floss and use mouthwash consistently, and then couple this with professional dental cleanings and checkups twice a year. Any tartar that forms on your teeth will then be removed promptly before it triggers other dental health problems. Call Dr. Fardi Farhat at Dental One Care for help in fixing any dental health problem for a lifelong smile.