Plaque build up leads to numerous oral health problems, so knowing what it is and how to prevent it is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong. Thankfully, it’s simple to deal with the problem before it becomes severe through proper oral hygiene practices.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria and viruses that forms along the gum line and on the teeth. Because it is colorless, it is impossible to see at first, but it continues to form constantly and is always there. If left untreated, it calcifies or hardens into tartar which attaches to the teeth and is much more difficult to remove.
Signs and Symptoms
Everyone has the film of bacteria and sugars growing in their mouths; the bacteria thrive on the foods people eat, especially foods with a lot of sugar. However, it is hard to see the film unless it has harden. Tartar is visible as a yellow or brown deposit on the teeth or at the gum line.
Plaque produces acids that attack tooth enamel, causing breakdown of the enamel that can result in cavities. If not removed, it also irritates the gums leading to red, swollen, and bleeding gums in a condition called gingivitis. As the damage progresses, gum disease and tooth loss can occur.
Build up and the related problems can be prevented through proper daily care of your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, preferably after each meal, to remove the film from the surface of your teeth. Floss every day to remove it from places where your toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and under the gumline. It is impossible to completely remove the build up with brushing and flossing alone, so regular professional cleanings and dental examinations are an important part of proper oral care. You should have professional cleanings at least twice a year during which the dental hygienist scraps away the build up from your teeth and gumline. Limit your consumption of foods with high sugar or starch content, which the bacteria particularly thrive on. Sticky foods also present a problem because they adhere to your teeth and give the bacteria more time to consume them, so minimize the amount of sticky snacks you eat.
Certain products can also help with prevention. Using a sea salt rinse and toothpaste that contain essential oils can improve your oral hygiene and help make your mouth a clean, healthy place. For example the minerals in Dead Sea Salt high may help strengthen the enamel of your teeth against acid attacks and essential oils can help break up plaque build up..
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