We all know that brushing our teeth is important to prevent plaque and tartar from building up – but what exactly does that mean? Here’s all you need to know about plaque and tartar, including how to keep them at bay.
Dental plaque is a build-up full of harmful bacteria that forms on your teeth and under your gums. Plaque on the teeth is a cause for concern because it creates acids that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing is usually enough to get rid of it – but if plaque is left unchecked it hardens into tartar.
Dental tartar forms a rough, yellowish crust on your teeth, mostly visible on the gumline behind the lower front teeth. Once tartar has formed, you could develop problems like cavities and gum disease even if you practice a good oral health routine – unlike plaque, tartar can’t be removed by brushing so you need to get it removed by your dentist or hygienist.
The best way to treat tartar build-up is to stop it from happening in the first place. Here’s how
Nothing beats maintaining a good oral health routine for tackling plaque and tartar.
Plaque thrives on sugary, starchy foods like refined white bread and pasta. Try to limit your intake. If you do have a sweet snack or starchy meal, consider giving your teeth a good brush afterwards – but wait for at least 30 minutes before doing so. Drinking plenty of water will also help, as it washes away food debris and helps balance the pH levels in your mouth.
It’s also important to visit your dentist or hygienist at least once every six months for a thorough check-up and clean. They’ll be able to remove any tartar build-up and advise you on any issues.
If you maintain a simple everyday oral care routine, and turn it into a ritual of brushing twice a day will become second nature to you, so you too can enjoy healthier, happier smiles every day.
Drink plenty of water after each meal; it washes away food debris and naturally prevents plaque build-up.
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Find helpful advice on your oral health concerns in our guides created by Signal, the family dental expert