Ways to Prevent Plaque Buildup
Plaque is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and thrive on sugar and starch. Bacteria in the mouth produce acids that destroy tooth enamel and cause decay. Plaque can also develop on the tooth roots under the gum and cause breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth.
Develop Good Oral Habits
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristled, rounded-tip toothbrush. Brush in gentle circular up and down motions being sure to reach the area where the gums meet the teeth.
Floss between teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria. Brushing alone doesn’t remove plaque from between teeth. If you have a hard time using floss string, try instead dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, small, straight brushes that fit between your teeth, or water flossers.
Swish with mouthwash, but read the ingredients before you buy. Some mouthwashes contain sugar and alcohol which will defeat the purpose of using it. Some mouthwashes can dry up the saliva in your mouth, and your saliva is the army that fights the bad bacteria and acids.
Limit Starch and Sugar
As hard as it may be, most of us could benefit from limiting starchy foods, sugary desserts, candy, and carbonated soft drinks. The acidic foods are the worst offenders when it comes to tooth decay. Avoiding them may not only benefit your teeth, but your waistline and general health too.
Chew Sugarless Gum
If you can’t brush after eating high carbohydrate foods, consider chewing sugar free gum containing stevia or xylitol. Some artificial sweeteners may contain harmful chemicals, so read the ingredients list before deciding if that is the product for you.
Visit Dentist Twice a Year
Make it a point to visit Dr. Thomas at least twice a year for cleanings and check-ups. Removing plaque lengthens the life and health of your teeth, and if you do get a cavity, discovering it early and stopping the damage before it become a bigger problem is important.