Plaque on Teeth: Tips, Prevention and Causes

Plaque on teeth is the white-yellow sticky, soft layer that deposits on the teeth and molars during the day. It is hardly visible on the teeth. You can describe plaque on teeth as: everything that remains on the teeth after rinsing the mouth. There are many bacteria, saliva proteins, water and food residues in plaque. If plaque on teeth is not removed, the bacteria accumulate and problems arise. Good daily oral care is therefore very important to prevent plaque on teeth from turning into tartar.

Remove plaque on teeth and between your teeth

It will not sound unfamiliar to you: you remove plaque on teeth with a toothbrush by brushing twice a day. But how do you do that right? For that I give you a number of tips that are probably new or unknown to you. For example, plaque on teeth is best removed with an electric toothbrush. He does the work for you and you can work very well with it.

It is often told about a target time of 2-4 minutes to brush your teeth, but it is better to have the brush head for each tooth for a few seconds. First place the brush on the front of the tooth. Then you also hold the brush head to the left and right of the tooth (spaces around your teeth), place it on the back of your tooth. Finally, you also have the brush head on the chewing surface (the top or bottom) of the tooth. All this for two or three seconds. Then you go to the next tooth until you are done. I have added an image below, so that you can get a clear picture of exactly how to brush. 

Brushing method to prevent plaque on teeth

Important are a fixed order to hit all teeth and enough time. Whatever brushing method you use, keep a fixed order so that you don’t skip anything. A good order is:

  • The insides of the upper teeth;
  • The outsides of the upper teeth;
  • The chewing surfaces of the upper teeth;
  • The insides of the lower teeth;
  • The outsides of the lower teeth;
  • The chewing surfaces of the lower teeth.

Don’t forget to brush behind the rear molars as well, as it were, your brush has to turn around here, from the outside of the molars to the inside.

When to brush to prevent plaque on teeth?

The first time after breakfast and the second time before bed. If you brush within half an hour after you have eaten, your teeth are even more sensitive to wear. There is usually not much time between breakfast and going to work or going to school. Bringing your toothbrush and brushing it at your workplace is a very good option for preserving your teeth.

Smokers have more plaque and tartar on teeth

Smokers usually have more plaque and tartar than the non-smokers and they have more can on gum disease. Moreover, the gum disease are often more severe and treatment of them is generally less successful.

Remove plaque on teeth with a mouthwash

There are some mouthwashes that make removing plaque on teeth easier. These mouthwashes with antibacterial properties can contribute to good oral hygiene. This type of rinse aid can help to reduce plaque development and improve gum condition. Anyone who thinks you can use mouthwash and then no longer has to brush is wrong. These mouthwashes are also used as a supplement to daily mouth care. So rinsing is not a replacement for brushing your teeth! Mouthwashes can also ensure a fresh mouth odor and a good taste.

Effects of plaque on teeth

If the plaque on teeth is not removed, it can develop into tartar. Tartar is a calcified plaque that has hardened. It can occur both above the gums and in invisible places below the gums. If tartar is not removed by the dental hygienist, it can turn into inflamed gums. Inflamed gums can be recognized by the red color of your gums, bleeding when brushing / touching, bad taste, bad breath (halitosis), swollen and painful gums. These characteristics are also called gingivitis. If you do nothing about gingivitis, it can even switch to periodontitis. To prevent the annoying effects of plaque and tartar, it is necessary to remove plaque on teeth on time and regularly by a dental hygienist and it is important that you go daily between your teeth with toothpick and floss thread.

Prevent plaque on teeth

  • Try brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Visit the dentist every six months for a periodic inspection.
  • Have your teeth and molars thoroughly cleaned twice a year by a dental hygienist.
  • Clean the spaces between your teeth and molars every day with a toothpick and / or floss.
  • Buy an electric toothbrush with a round head so that you can easily reach your wisdom teeth. An electric toothbrush can be very useful, because they have a special luminous function if you brush too hard, for example the function that oral-B has.

Discovering plaque on teeth with disclosing tablets

Plaque on teeth is usually light yellow in color and therefore not clearly visible. Plaque on teeth can be made visible by means of a special colorant or tablets (disclosing tablets). After brushing your teeth, chew the tablet and spread the coloring agent over the teeth with your tongue. Then you wash away the discolored fabric with a sip of water. The pink spots on the teeth indicate where there is plaque on teeth. After a while, the colorant disappears automatically.

Avoid cavities

To keep your mouth healthy, you need to remove plaque on teeth. This white-yellow layer is difficult to see and is created on and between your teeth and the transition to the gums. Plaque consists of bacteria and products from bacteria. They are in your mouth. Virtually all of our food and drinks contain sugars and starch. Sugars are added to many foods (such as soft drinks), but there are also sugars naturally in products (such as fruit). The bacteria in your mouth convert sugars and starch into acids. These acids cause cavities in your teeth.

Effect of chewing gum on the teeth

A chewing gum has a sticky effect. It therefore makes sense that chewing gum is able to remove food residues between the teeth and to reduce plaque on the chewing surfaces. There are actually strong scientific indications that chewing gum with xylitol as a sweetener reduces the formation of plaque. So we have to see the benefits primarily in terms of reducing plaque formation. Removing plaque only does chewing gum a little.

Almost all types of chewing gum nowadays contain the substance Xylitol. This is a sweetener that is used as a substitute for sugar. Unlike sugar, the bacteria that live in your mouth cannot break down this substance. This makes sugar-free chewing gum safe for use in the teeth. Xylitol has the additional effect that it blocks the conversion of (other) sugars in the mouth to acid. This prevents the bacteria from sticking to teeth and causing cavities.

If you chew gum, you also activate the production of saliva. Saliva protects against dental erosion. With every meal acid is formed in the mouth, which attacks the tooth enamel. Saliva neutralizes the acids from food and beverages. Saliva can also make life difficult for the bacteria in your mouth (antibodies). Sugar-free chewing gum helps to remove bacteria from the mouth.

Xylifresh chewing gum with 100% xylitol helps prevent plaque on teeth and is recommended. Finally, it is a good substitute for sweets. Sugar-free chewing gum alone helps to prevent cavities because you do not chew on a chewing gum and eat sour food at the same time – as a substitute for harmful sugar-rich sweets.

Can chewing gum prevent or remove plaque?

Studies show that the effects of sugar-free chewing gum described above can make a positive contribution to the prevention of tooth decay. However, it is not the case that you should see chewing gum as a replacement for brushing. Not only do you miss the necessary fluoride, but too little plaque is removed by all that chewing. In any case, chewing for more than ten minutes makes no sense, because then you will have chewed the xylitol or other substances.

Xylitol chewing gum is especially useful just after consuming sugars and / or acid. It ensures that the acid attack lasts less long. Xylitol can block the conversion of sugar into acid and stimulate the formation of saliva. To remove molded plaque well, even in the tricky places, you will still have to use the toothbrush, toothpicks and / or floss!

Chewing gum can have a positive effect when cleaning the teeth. For this you have to use sugar-free chewing gum, preferably with a high dose of Xylitol. It prevents sugars in the mouth from being converted to acids and promotes saliva production. However, it is more a complement to brushing teeth than it is an alternative. Brushing your teeth remains necessary because you remove many times more plaque, both on, behind and between the teeth. However, chewing gum is a good option to make a contribution to oral care in the meantime, for example shortly after eating. As with everything in life, I do recommend using chewing gum sparingly (max. 1 or 2 per day).

Video about how to remove and prevent plaque on teeth

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