Dental plaque is a bacterial film and acid that’s constantly being produced in your mouth, and sticks to your teeth. Because dental plaque can harm both teeth and gums, it’s important to take steps to prevent plaque. Humans begin accumulating plaque as soon as they start getting teeth, and it never stops until after death.
What Happens when Plaque isn’t Removed?
Every time you eat plaque begins to release acid. That acid wears away the enamel that protects your teeth. Over time plaque gets hard and turns into Tartar that cannot be removed without professional intervention. Both plaque and tarter can lead not only to cavities and gum disease, but may also increase a person’s risk for various diseases including respiratory infections, and cardiovascular disease.
Red, Puffy Gums:
Red puffy gums, sensitive teeth or bleeding gums means that something’s wrong with your mouth. Typically these are the first signs of gingivitis and gum disease. Since dental plaque is very yard to see, you can get some plaque disclosing tablets and use those before you brush your teeth. This way you’ll know what areas need more attention. Generally once or twice a week is good.
What is Gingivitis?
Simply put gingivitis is inflammation in your gums that if left untreated can become gum disease. When plaque isn’t removed in daily brushing and glossing the residual toxins begin to irritate the gums. If caught and treated early on, gingivitis can be reversed.
If you notice your gums bleed frequently when you brush, or that your gums seem to be receding, those are two signs that you’ve got gingivitis. Other signs include swollen gums and bad breath.
How To Prevent Plaque
The advice given by most mothers and your dentist remains the best way to prevent the on-going build up of plaque. Good oral hygiene consists of brushing your teeth minimally two times a day for two full minutes.
Clean all the outer surfaces of your teeth, both upper and lower, followed by the inner surfaces and your tongue. Then floss on each side of each tooth making sure to get below the gum line and move any bits of food out of that area where plaque typically accumulates readily.
In addition to this daily protocol, remember to:
- See your dentist twice a year to have a thorough cleaning and a check up.
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride rinse
- Eat healthy foods and avoid too much sugar
- Drink plenty of water (this helps wash away plaque before it hardens)
- Include cranberries in your diet, these fight the enzymes known to contribute to plaque formation
Finally, in your on-going efforts to prevent plaque buildup, consider getting dental sealants. They’re not overly expensive and often covered under insurance plans. These protect your teeth from plaque’s effects.
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