When you visit a dentist, he or she will examine your teeth to look for signs of decay and other problems, and the dentist often pays close attention to the amount of plaque you have on your teeth. Plaque is a substance that destroys teeth and can lead to other oral problems, but do you really know what plaque is? Here are several things to understand about plaque, which is the number one enemy of your teeth.
What Is Plaque?
Plaque is a material that is sticky and made up of bacteria and germs. It comes from the foods you eat, and it can smell really bad. Your mouth contains a lot of bacteria, and the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the things you eat. As this occurs, plaque forms inside your mouth.
When plaque remains on your teeth, it can eventually become decay, which will eat away at your teeth. In addition, plaque can harm and damage your gums. Plaque that initially forms on your teeth is easy to remove, but plaque that remains for several days will harden. When it hardens, the plaque changes into something called tartar, and tartar does not come off the teeth with brushing alone. You must visit a dental clinic to have this removed, and you will want to do this quickly to avoid developing cavities in your mouth.
How Can You Tell If You Have Plaque On Your Teeth?
While most people have at least a little bit of plaque on their teeth, others have a lot of plaque. The first way to tell if you have plaque is by feeling your teeth with your tongue. When you do this, you may feel a fuzzy texture on your teeth, and this fuzzy feeling is plaque. After you brush your teeth, you may notice that your teeth feel smoother; however, they may still feel kind of fuzzy.
Another good way to tell if you have plaque is by using disclosing tablets. These are small tablets you must chew, and you can purchase them at most pharmacies. After you chew one of these, open your mouth and look at a mirror. The tablets contain a type of coloring that adheres to plaque. Any areas that are colored will represent plaque on your teeth. The tablets typically come in red or green, and they are the perfect way to tell how much plaque you have on your teeth.
What Are The Best Ways To Deal With Plaque?
There really is no good way to prevent plaque from forming inside your mouth; however, there are ways to reduce the amount of plaque left on your teeth so that it cannot cause damage to your teeth and gums.
The first method is by changing your diet. If you eat healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, you will have a lower chance of developing plaque. In order for plaque to form, the bacteria in your mouth needs carbohydrates. While some healthy foods contain carbohydrates, junk food is likely to contain higher amounts. Eating right is a good way to help control the amount of plaque that forms on your teeth.
Another good habit to develop is drinking more water, especially after you eat. Water can help cleanse the mouth by removing bacteria and food particles, and drinking a glass of water after you eat can make a big difference. Chewing sugar-free gum is another good method for removing plaque from the mouth after eating.
One of the best things you can do for your teeth is to brush and floss your teeth daily. Brushing is the best remedy for reducing plaque in your mouth, and flossing helps reach areas that your toothbrush cannot access. To learn more about plaque and ways to reduce it, contact a dentist today.