Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that lives inside your mouth. This bacteria consumes sugar to produce an acid that attacks your teeth and gums.
While you can't see plaque, you may feel it when you run your tongue over your teeth. Sometimes plaque buildup can make your teeth feel rough or "fuzzy."
The best defense against plaque is a good oral hygiene routine.
Here's what you need to know.
Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
Plaque loves to feed on the sugar left behind on your teeth after meals. For this reason, it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time.
Replace your toothbrush as soon as the bristles look worn, twisted, or bent out of shape. In general, we recommend replacing a manual toothbrush.
If you have an electric toothbrush, replace the toothbrush head every 12 weeks. Electric toothbrush heads have short nylon bristles, which wear out faster.
Floss Once a Day
Floss once a day to remove any plaque or food particles hiding between teeth.
To floss your teeth, wrap about 18 to 24 inches of floss between your two middle fingers. Leave about 1 to 2 inches of floss between your fingers.
Next, hold the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and guide the floss between two teeth.
Gently pull the floss against the side of one tooth so it makes a soft "C" shape. Rub the floss up and down along the side of the tooth. You'll want to repeat this process for each side of every tooth.
If you notice a little bit of blood on your floss, this could be a. Gingivitis is gum inflammation caused by plaque buildup.
The good news is that you can reverse and prevent future gingivitis by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes flossing your teeth every day.
Don't Skip Your Teeth Cleaning Appointments
You can remove plaque at home by brushing and flossing your teeth. But only a dental health professional will be able to remove tartar.
Tartar is calcified plaque that has bonded to the tooth. It's also porous, which means it's able to trap more food and plaque against your teeth. The foods you eat can also stain tartar buildup, which can make your teeth look brown or yellow.
In general, we recommend that our patients see us at least every 6 months for preventive care. During your dental cleaning, the hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup. They may also take digital X-rays if it's been a while since your last ones.
During your appointment, Dr. Yun will examine the inside of your mouth and any dental X-rays. If he detects any issues, he'll be able to recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
Removing plaque and tartar helps you avoid cavities, gum disease, and other issues.
Related:What Happens During a Routine Teeth Cleaning →
Schedule Your Next Appointment With Dr. Yun
Dr. Yun is an experienced family dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. As such, he offers a range of preventive dental services to help you maintain a healthy smile for life.
Ready to request an appointment with us? Call the NorthPointe Family Dental & Implant Center at (616) 288-6134. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our office will reach out to you soon.
This blog post has been updated.