Plaque accumulation causes
Plaque is the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on teeth. It makes teeth feel fuzzy to the tongue and is most noticeable when teeth have not been brushed.
Plaque prevention and treatment
Plaque develops when foods containing carbohydrates, mainly sugars and starches, such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Plaque can also develop on the tooth roots under the gum and cause breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth.
Plaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. Brushing and flossing become more difficult as tartar collects at the gum line. As the tartar, plaque and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
To prevent plaque buildup, brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft, rounded-tip bristled toothbrush. Pay particular attention to the space where the gums and teeth meet. Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Floss between teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria.
See your dentist or oral hygienist every 6 months for a check-up and teeth cleaning. In some cases, your dentist will recommend to schedule more regular check ups, but that will depend on your particular case. Two visits a year is the average.
Ask your dentist if a dental sealant is appropriate for you. Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to protect them from cavities and decay.
Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of between-meal snacks. If you need a snack, choose nutritious foods such as plain yogurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables. Vegetables, such as celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralize plaque-causing acids.
Use of an antibacterial mouth rinse can reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, so make sure to ask your dentist if such rinses are appropriate for you.
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