Did you know that plaque constantly forms on your teeth?
When you eat or drink anything with with sugars or starches, leftover bacteria release acids that attack your tooth enamel. The resulting plaque is so sticky that it keeps the acids in contact with your teeth, and over time breaks down the enamel and leads to tooth decay.
Plaque buildup can cause gum disease — first gingivitis, the tender and swollen gums that sometimes bleed. If it progresses, severe periodontal (gum) disease can develop. Gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, allowing the bacteria to destroy the underlying bone supporting the teeth.
If you want to protect the health of your teeth and gums. it is important to brush teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush – this will prevent damage to the enamel
- Brush at a 45-degree angle – the toothbrush should be placed against the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.
- Use short gentle back, forth, and small circular motions so that all tooth surfaces will be gently brushed, avoid a sawing or scrubbing motion.
- Brush your tongue
- Keep the mouth clean after brushing – avoid eating for 30 minutes after brushing.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, as well as after any illness.
While most people are in the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing is a less common habit. However, if you want to protect the health of your gums, it’s a must.
Flossing gets rid of food and plaque between the teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. If plaque stays between teeth, it can harden into tartar.
Remember to see your dentist twice a year for cleanings. Brushing and flossing help get rid of most plaque, but some plaque is more difficult to remove and will harden and form tartar. Only cleaning by a dental professional can remove tartar.
In addition, antibacterial mouth rinses can reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, according to the American Dental Association.