We can all use some foolproof tips for avoiding plaque. Plaque is an aggregation of harmful bacteria that collects on our teeth and gums, showing up as a fuzzy, whitish coating near the gum line. If plaque is allowed to build up and isn’t removed on a regular basis, it inevitably leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
So that said, here are ten surefire tips to avoid plaque build-up and enjoy a fresher, healthier mouth.
1. Brush at least twice a day to avoid plaque.
Use a small, circular motion and be sure to brush each individual tooth on all sides. Pay special attention to back teeth which may be harder to reach. Make a difficult job easier with one of the new electric or battery-powered toothbrushes, and brush for a full 30 seconds … not just until your mouth fills up with foam, a common mistake. If bacteria is a real problem, look into the new high-end, rotating “plaque remover” electric toothbrushes.
2. Remove more plaque by brushing your gums.
Using a soft tooth brush, gently brush your gums as well as your teeth to avoid plaque. Hint: Lift your lips from your gums in order to better reach plaque collecting in the crevices. For super-powered gum cleaning, use one of the water picks or oral irrigators available on the market.
3. Don’t forget to brush your tongue to help avoid plaque and bad breath.
The tongue is simply filled with tiny crevices where plaque and bacteria collect. Although brushing your tongue may feel odd at first, neglecting to do so may leave as much as 50% of the bacterial-causing plaque still in your mouth.
4. Floss daily to avoid plaque build-up between teeth.
Your tooth brush simply can’t reach all the plaque between your teeth, so flossing is necessary to avoid plaque build-up.
5. Avoid between-meal snacks, since sugar feeds the bacteria that causes plaque.
Bacterial does its worst damage within about ten minutes after a meal or snack. Most people don’t brush after every snack — and invasive sugar comes in the form of foods like fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose), not just candy and soda.
6. Drinking water washes bacteria from your mouth, helping to avoid plaque.
Drink plenty of water after a meal or a snack, swishing it around a bit, and you’ve improved your odds against oral bacterial already.
Want to test your brushing technique and learn how to better avoid plaque? Try this:
1. Add a few drops of food coloring to a small amount of water.
2. Brush your teeth as you normally would, then rinse your mouth with the colored water.
3. Now look for the areas where food coloring still clings to your teeth, tongue and gums. The food coloring has colored all the plaque you missed!
4. Brush again to remove all the colored areas. Next time you brush, you’ll be more aware of your problem areas and better avoid plaque build-up.
As you can see, there are a number of tips sure to aid you in the fight against plaque. Adding just one or two at a time to your dental routine is sure to improve your odds against plaque — and your oral health.