Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy smile, and learning how to prevent plaque buildup is key to achieving it. Plaque begins as a thin, sticky film as bacteria collects around your teeth and gums. But if it’s not removed, it will soon harden, making it impossible to eliminate with brushing alone. And untreated plaque residue will lead to more complications, including receding gums, bad breath, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.
Don’t be alarmed. It’s easier than you might think to prevent plaque, especially when you follow a few simple teeth-cleaning techniques. Plus, cleaner, plaque-free teeth also benefit your overall health. Add these steps to your routine and keep plaque at bay!
1. Brush With a Fluoride Toothpaste
The first prevention step is to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Ideally, brush for at least two minutes, ensuring you clean each tooth, especially around the gum line. Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching your gums. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective.
2. Follow Up With Daily Flossing
At least once per day, prevent plaque buildup by flossing well between each tooth. Brushing alone can miss some of the bacteria between your teeth. It’s important to remove as much bacteria as possible not only to prevent plaque but prevent other health problems like heart disease. You can use regular floss, flossing sticks, or even a water jet system.
3. Rinse With Mouthwash
Finish your brushing and flossing routine with mouthwash. It’s best to use a fluoride and/or antibacterial wash to remove any leftover bacteria in the mouth and help further protect your teeth until you brush them again.
It’s a good idea to skip alcohol-based mouthwashes as they can dry out your mouth. A dry mouth can actually lead to a faster bacteria buildup.
4. Prevent Plaque Buildup With a Healthy Diet
What you eat affects how quickly plaque builds up on your teeth. Try to avoid sugary and acidic foods. Also, skip foods and drinks that dry out your mouth, such as coffee and alcohol. Try to limit how many snacks you have between meals. The more meals you eat between brushings, the more food and bacteria stick to your teeth.
Remember, it’s okay to brush a third time if you’ve had a lot of snacks, especially sugary snacks.
5. Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings
Preventing plaque starts with a great daily oral care routine. But, small amounts of plaque may still build up in places you can’t see or reach well with your toothbrush and floss. Don’t worry, though. Seeing your dentist every six months helps you keep this buildup at bay. You may also have a sealant placed on your teeth to provide an extra layer of protection between visits.
Learn how we can help you prevent plaque buildup with our preventative dentistry services. We’re also here to answer questions you might have about your oral care routine.