12 Sticky Facts About Plaque…and How to Fight Back!
Get the facts about plaque — it’s your smile’s worst enemy. As sticky, stubborn plaque builds up on your teeth, it can jeopardize oral health as well as overall health. The Dr. E Cosmetic and Dentistry Team has compiled some fast facts about plaque as well as some tips we encourage you to ”stick” with to help fight back against plaque and preserve your smile.
#1) There are more than 3 million cases of periodontal disease in the U.S. diagnosed each year — with plaque buildup being a main contributor!
#2) Plaque is sticky and colorless but even though it’s invisible, everyone has it! Be sure to brush and floss daily to prevent plaque from building up and harming your smile.
#3) It only takes a few hours for plaque to harden and adhere to the teeth. It then becomes tartar, a substance with a foul odor that makes teeth look yellow. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist scraping it off the teeth with special tools.
#4) If left untreated, plaque can lead to tooth loss and contribute to other health concerns like heart disease and dementia.
#5) Studies show that pregnant women are at greater risk for plaque formation and buildup than the rest of the population. That’s why it’s critical to keep up with oral hygiene during pregnancy.
#6) What you eat and drink matters when it comes to plaque! Beverages such as green tea and red wine help prevent plaque buildup while sugary sodas and juices can increase plaque formation. Foods like cheese, milk and apples contain calcium and phosphates that have been found to reduce plaque buildup.
#7) On the topic of food, olive oil and cranberries are considered two secret weapons when it comes to fighting plaque. Olive oil leaves behind a fatty layer on the teeth that acts as a barrier against plaque while cranberries contain polyphenol that fight against plaque and other harmful bacteria.
#8) Plaque destroys tooth enamel and, if left to build up, eventually wears away bone that supports your teeth.
#9) A better toothbrush can help in the fight against plaque. Electric toothbrushes are particularly effective. Changing your toothbrush (or toothbrush heads) every three months is recommended in order to thoroughly remove the sticky substance.
#10) The toothpaste you choose also matters when it comes to plaque. Toothpastes that contain baking soda have been found to get rid of plaque more effectively.
#11) You can swish the plaque away! That’s right… mouth rinses contain active ingredients that help break down plaque. So, try to make “swishing” part of your oral hygiene routine!
#12) Seeing your dentist every six months is the best way to keep your smile healthy and keep plaque away. During your well check, your dentist will deep clean your mouth using special tools and the dental team may also opt to apply sealants as an extra line of defense against plaque.
Plaque doesn’t have to be a permanent problem! While it is impossible to prevent, you can take action against plaque buildup by practicing proper oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly.
Don’t let plaque stick around! Contact the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team today to schedule your next cleaning. 480-494-2435