We’ve all heard the importance of removing plaque from our teeth and how over time, the sticky film of bacteria on our teeth can harden into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove and damaging to our teeth and gums. Dental plaque also contains the bacteria that converts sugar into acids that wear away tooth enamel and cause cavities. Here are some oral care tips to keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque.
- Floss before you brush. Especially right after eating, it’s important to remove the food particles from between your teeth before the bacteria can get to them. Flossing is a crucial component of great oral hygiene that’s often neglected. You should floss at least once a day between your teeth, using a gentle sawing motion. When you do, make sure you use a clean section of floss for every section between teeth.
- Brush twice a day. Although there are lots of fancy toothbrushes available in stores, the best ones are soft-bristled nylon brushes with rounded bristles. Hard bristled toothbrushes can wear away tooth enamel. Also, when you brush you’ll need a good fluoride toothpaste. The fluoride helps strengthen your tooth enamel and protect from decay.
- Use mouthwash that helps remove plaque. Although they’re not very effective all by themselves, mouthwashes can help loosen plaque buildup on teeth when used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
- Have your teeth cleaned regularly. Regular cleanings are the most effective way to get rid of the more hard-to-reach plaque and the plaque that has hardened into tartar. Dentists usually recommend a cleaning every six months, but may say that you need cleanings more often if you have special issues.
Despite all of the advances in dentistry, tooth decay still remains a prevalent problem in the U.S. Following these tips will help ensure that your teeth are protected. If it’s time for a tooth cleaning, make an appointment today.