Is Plaque on Teeth Something You Can Prevent?

You might have heard stories about plaque and how it can be harmful to your health. This sticky bacteria layer may appear along the gum line, and if not addressed, periodontics is the only thing that will be able to help you. 

But there are a couple of things you can do to prevent emergency visits to a periodontal specialist, and we are here to talk about your options. In this article, you will learn all you need to know about plaque, how to treat it, and how to recognize it in time. 

What Is Plaque?

What is plaque on teeth? It is a thin layer of microorganisms that may accumulate on teeth. These microorganisms are usually bacteria, but they can also be a type of fungi. 

People often confuse tartar and plaque, and while they are similar, they aren’t the same. If you leave dental plaque on your teeth unattended, it will turn into tartar, which is usually yellow or brown. Over time, if not removed, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to teeth problems and result in tooth decay. 

As with nearly any other dental problem, you will need to act as soon as possible to avoid the worst possible scenario. 

You might ask yourself how common this problem is, and the answer is — very. Almost everyone develops plaque to a degree, but that doesn’t need to be a reason for concern. To ensure that everything is well, the best option is to talk to a dental professional. Once you visit your dentist, they will be able to tell you whether there is something you need to do. 

It is worth mentioning that plaque won’t attach to teeth exclusively. It can appear on nearly any surface in the mouth. This includes prosthetics, restorations, and even dentures. And this is one of many reasons why oral hygiene is crucial for dental health. 

What Causes Plaque Buildup on Teeth

So, what causes plaque buildup on teeth? The first thing on the list is diet. If someone smokes, drinks, or eats lots of sugar, or if they have unbalanced pH levels in their mouth, they are at greater risk of tooth plaque. But this isn’t the only cause. 

Furthermore, when bacteria in your mouth get in contact with certain types of food, it can result in quicker plaque buildup. These foods include:

  • Milk
  • Soft drinks
  • Pasta
  • Fruit
  • Anything with sugar
  • Anything with starch
  • Bread

These are just some examples, which just shows why the majority of people have plaque problems. At least to a degree. But that doesn’t mean that someone should stop eating everything. The main problem, as you can probably guess, is oral health and hygiene. When someone consumes sugary foods or other items on the list, they should brush their teeth shortly afterward. Failing to do so will result in plaque. 

So, to prevent plaque buildup, you don’t need to starve. You just need to focus on brushing and flossing after each meal. Moreover, there are certain types of toothbrushes and techniques that may help you eliminate the problem, and your dentist will be able to tell you more about it. 

How to Recognize It?

The next thing we should discuss is how to recognize plaque. 

There are numerous different symptoms that may point to it. The most noticeable might be halitosis, aka bad breath. Now, halitosis is a chronic illness, and it is something that can’t be solved with brushing or mouthwash. This means that what people call “morning breath” is perfectly normal, and it is not a cause for concern. 

Other symptoms include a variety of gum diseases, so if you notice swelling, redness, irritation, bleeding, or anything else after brushing, you will need to talk to your dentist. Needless to say, if you feel any type of discomfort or pain, it is undoubtedly a sign to visit a dentist.  

What Can You Do About It?

The main question is how to remove plaque buildup on teeth and if there is anything you can do to prevent it. So, the obvious thing you could do is try to improve your oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth thoroughly, at least twice a day. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to use a softer toothbrush, focusing on the part where teeth and gums meet while brushing. 

The next thing on the list is flossing (you should do it at least once each day). This activity will help you remove bacteria and particles of food, and it will slow the process of buildup on your teeth. 

Moreover, you might want to consider getting an antibacterial mouthwash as well. This can help you prevent both plaque and other periodontal diseases. 

But all of these are different ways to prevent the problem. What can someone do who already has plaque formed on their teeth? The answer is — visit your dentist. 

The treatment is quite simple, and once you visit your dentist, they will be able to scrape it off your teeth. They might also recommend products to use, different toothbrushes, or medications that may be helpful for your situation.  

Why Is It Important?

As we mentioned before, bacteria in plaque can cause so many problems. For example, tooth enamel might get damaged, which will lead to cavities or even tooth loss. We mentioned that brushing and flossing may be of help, but this only applies to plaque. If it hardens and becomes tartar, you won’t be able to remove it yourself. This is something your dentist will need to do for you, and if you wait too long, it can cause numerous dental problems. 

While the entire situation might seem scary, the truth is there are so many things you can do to prevent it. And if you regularly visit your dentist, they will be able to point out the problem before it evolves into something a lot more dangerous. So, focus on your diet, health, and don’t forget regular dental checkups.