We use the latest brushes, toothpaste, dental floss, etc.
However, plaque and tartar can still become a problem. The bacteria that cause plaque can be very hard to treat at home. It is highly recommended that you have your teeth cleaned professionally via the process of plaque and tartar removal every six months, or more frequently as recommended by your dentist or hygienist. Around 90% of people are affected by this problem. The treatment is quick and painless. One of the consequences of not treating this can be periodontal disease, which can also lead to gum disease. You should call for a hygienist appointment to check the condition of your teeth.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. Plaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. Brushing and flossing become more difficult as tartar collects at the gum line. As the tartar, plaque and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease. Plaque is colourless and difficult to see. Heavy plaque deposits can be easier to see and may look like a thick white deposit or food stuck to the teeth. Plaque begins forming on teeth 4 to 12 hours after brushing, which is why it is so important to brush at least twice a day and floss daily as a part of oral care. Tartar, also called calculus, is a crusty deposit that can trap stains on the teeth and cause teeth discoloration. It creates a strong bond that can only be removed by a dental professional. Individuals vary greatly in their susceptibility to plaque and tartar build-up on teeth. For many of us, these deposits build up faster as we age.
How to prevent tartar build-up
- Brush your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque from tooth surfaces and protect your teeth from decay.
- Clean between teeth daily (preferably before bedtime) with floss or an interdental cleaner to remove plaque from the places where your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is essential to preventing gum disease.
- Since plaque is a sticky substance, you must brush and floss to help remove it. Mouth rinses alone will not provide enough plaque removal to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals, which can provide more sugar for the bacteria in plaque to convert into acids that cause decay.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning and oral exams. Maybe no-one will notice if you don’t brush your teeth twice a day, every day - but your teeth will!!