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Girl on the dentist chair and showing positive sign and dentist standing near her

Plaque is a type of biofilm that sticks to your teeth and builds up over time. Bacteria forms when your food mixes with your saliva and other fluids, creating plaque. The plaque has a yellow tint to it, which makes it hard to maintain a perfect smile. With enough time, plaque transforms into tartar. Tartar occurs when enough minerals build up on the plaque to turn it into a hardened substance. Learning how to prevent plaque build-up is an essential skill to add to your oral hygiene routine. 

Why is Preventing Plaque Build Up Important

The bacteria in plaque have a detrimental effect on your gums and tooth enamel. A few conditions that plaque can cause include dental decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath. As the build-up gets more severe, it takes the minerals in your saliva and hardens, creating tartar. Tartar can push teeth out of position, cause significant damage to your teeth, and lead to other dental health conditions. Unlike plaque, you also can’t remove tartar at home. The dentist needs to use specialized tools to deal with the mineralized substance. You can avoid this problem entirely by preventing plaque build-up. 

How Can You Identify Plaque

A few tell-tale signs of plaque include: 

  • Feeling a sticky substance on your teeth 
  • Seeing a yellow film 
  • Smelling bad breath 
  • Finding tartar on your tooth enamel 
  • Developing red, irritated spots on your gums 

If you’re not sure if you have plaque, or how to prevent plaque build-up, you can buy specialty tablets at the drug store that will stain this substance. You can also ask your dentist to look for you. 

How to Prevent Plaque Build Up 

Thankfully, preventing plaque build-up is relatively straightforward, with a combination of lifestyle changes and good dental habits. The most important thing you can do is to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and stop in for dental cleanings bi-annually. Keep up with your flossing as well, so you don’t miss food particles that end up between your teeth. Some types of toothpaste on the market can fight plaque, which can help you catch up with any current build-up. 

Follow up your brushing routine with mouthwash to catch any bacteria that’s leftover. 

Look at your diet and cut out as many of your carbohydrates and sugars as possible. Foods that contain these give bacteria a perfect environment to grow and thrive, which makes it easier for plaque to survive in your mouth. It might be hard to make these changes, so during this process, brush your teeth after eating these types of foods to minimize the damage it can do. 

If you’re a smoker, cutting down the amount you smoke or stopping entirely goes a long way towards preventing plaque build-up. 

Get the Answers at Signature Smiles Dentistry

Plaque leads to a lot of preventable dental issues. You may need to spend some time catching up with the build-up that exists right now, but a dentist can help you start with a clean slate through a dental cleaning. At Signature Smiles, we’re committed to helping you have a beautiful, amazing smile. For that reason, we’re proud to offer a wide range of dental services to keep your smile healthy and to help you prevent plaque build-up. Some of our services include:

  • Teeth cleanings
  • Rooting and scaling
  • Professional teeth whitening services
  • Cavity fillings
  • Oral surgery

Now that you know how to prevent plaque build-up, you are one step closer to having the smile of your dreams. To learn more about how to keep your smile healthy, or to schedule an appointment, reach out to Signature Smiles today by contacting us at 720.513.8405 today.