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Winning the War Against Plaque

Winning the War Against Plaque

Since childhood, most people have repeatedly heard about the importance of brushing and flossing daily. Whether from a parent warning that too many sweets will rot your teeth or from a concerned dentist lecturing about the need to keep teeth healthy and strong, the importance of practicing quality oral hygiene should have sunk in long ago.

However, while most people understand they need to brush, many don’t know why. Brushing helps to remove harmful bacteria and lingering food particles from your teeth and gums. Failing to brush daily allows these substances to buildup in the mouth where they can contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.

Tooth Plaque Explained

Even the healthiest of mouths contain hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. While most of this bacteria is harmless, plaque can cause serious long-term damage the health of your teeth and gums.

A stick biofilm consisting of bacteria and food particles, plaque feeds off of the carbs and simple sugars you eat to produce harmful acids that erode away at tooth enamel. Given enough time, plaque can create tiny crevices in tooth enamel where bacteria can begin to buildup. Once inside these cracks, plaque become unreachable with your toothbrush, which allows the bacteria to continue eroding away at your teeth’s enamel until decay and cavities occur.

Despite the need to keep plaque off of teeth in order to enjoy quality oral health, many people pickup bad habits that allow plaque to buildup in the mouth. Here are a few of the worst plaque building habits in which you can engage.

Not Brushing Daily

A very small difference exists between enjoying good oral health and bad, and that difference generally consists of how often you brush. You might feel that brushing once a day before bed is enough to keep your teeth healthy and strong, but ideally you need to brush throughout the day to prevent plaque damage.

While brushing after each meal may not be realistic for most people, you need to at least brush once in the morning and at night to protect the health of your teeth. Brushing after you wakeup helps to remove plaque from your teeth so the foods and drinks you consume over the course of a day don’t contribute to creating damaging acids. Brushing at night removes any lingering food particles that have remained after eating, thereby eliminating any potential fuel source for plaque to use during the night.

Not Flossing

Studies have shown that less than 50 percent of Americans floss on a nightly basis, according to the American Dental Association, despite most dentists agreeing that flossing is more important than brushing when it comes to preventing tooth decay. In addition to removing food particles that have become trapped between teeth, flossing also helps to remove plaque from areas between teeth your toothbrush cannot reach.

By failing to floss, you allow plaque to accumulate between teeth, and provide the bacteria will all the time it needs to cause decay. Considering how few people actually floss, it’s not surprising that the most common place for cavities to form in the mouth is between teeth.

If you want to avoid costly trips to the dentist’s office where you’ll undergo uncomfortable dental procedures, such as cavity fillings, you need to start flossing nightly before brushing.

Not Using Mouthwash

Plaque can form anywhere in the mouth, and not just on the surface of your teeth. Because plaque is so ever present, it’s nearly impossible to thoroughly remove the bacteria from your mouth without the use of an antibacterial mouthwash. By adding a nightly rinse to your oral hygiene routine, you can eliminate plaque from the recesses of your mouth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Avoiding the Dentist

Few people actually enjoy visiting the dentist, but scheduling regular trips to his or her office remains a vital part of protecting your oral health. When plaque remains on your teeth for longer than 72 hours, it transforms into a hardened bacteria known as tartar, which begins to accumulate around the base of your teeth near the gums. Tartar makes brushing your teeth more difficult, and can cause irritation and gum disease. Once plaque has become tartar, it can only be removed from your teeth by a dentist. This makes scheduling regular cleanings an important and necessary part of protecting the health of your teeth and gums.

To protect your teeth from plaque, schedule your next appointment with cosmetic dentist in Sandy Oregon Dr. Conklin, by calling (503) 668-4655 or clicking here.

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