How to Prevent Plaque

Everyone knows that if we don’t take care of our teeth we can get cavities. One cause of cavities is the buildup of plaque, which can also cause gum disease. Here’s an overview of what plaque is and how we can prevent it.

Everyone has dental plaque to some extent. Plaque causes a slight fuzziness on your teeth that you can feel with your tongue. It’s a sticky film of bacteria that is constantly developing on the surface of your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink. These acids can destroy your tooth enamel, leading to cavities and also gingivitis aka gum disease.

Plaque can also form under your gums and on your tooth roots. They can break down the jaw bones that support your teeth. If left untreated, plaque can harden into tartar, which is harder to remove. Proper dental hygiene habits, most importantly daily brushing and flossing, gets rid of a lot of this plaque. If you don’t like using normal dental floss there are options for you, including dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, brushes that fit between your teeth, water flossers or wooden plaque removers. Mouthwash is useful for loosening plaque so you can brush it off better, or spit or rinse it out of your mouth. But be careful to not get a kind that will dry your mouth out, because that actually makes your mouth more vulnerable to plaque formation.

Although we all get plaque, you may be more susceptible to plaque formation if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have dry mouth due to medical conditions or medications
  • Have a history of head or neck radiation

Your diet is also an important factor for plaque formation. Plaque can form quickly when the bacteria in your mouth mixes with sugary or starchy foods such as soft drinks, milk, juice, fruit, pasta or bread. These bacteria release acids that break down carbohydrates in food and drinks, so they do serve a useful function in that regard. Plaque is clearly a downside. Many dentists will tell you that you can eat or drink pretty much whatever you like, as long as it’s in moderation. Whenever possible, drink water or brush your teeth right after consuming these problematic foods or drinks, to get that dangerous stuff off your teeth before they can help form plaque.

Regular dental cleanings are important too, because there are spaces that are hard for you to clean on your own. Dentists and dental hygienists have special tools to find and remove plaque.

If you’re looking for the perfect place to get your teeth cleaned or fixed, choose the practice that was voted best dentist in NYC! At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (646) 679-3989.