You brush your teeth every night and visit your Kalamazoo dentist every six months, but you still wake up each day with unpleasant, embarrassing morning breath. The cause of this frustrating phenomenon? Often, it’s dental plaque. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take at home to fight plaque and protect your vibrant smile.
What is Dental Plaque?
Dental plaque is a sticky film that develops on your teeth. You probably recognize it as a slippery or fuzzy coating that causes bad breath. Sometimes plaque is hard to see, but it eventually becomes yellow and cause your teeth to appear discolored.
Anytime you eat foods or drink beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates, dental plaque develops. The bacteria in your mouth combine with sugar and carbs to produce acid. That acid eats away at your teeth to cause cavities, gingivitis, and other serious oral health problems.
Why Is Dental Plaque Dangerous?
Dental plaque is easy to ignore at first, but over time it can cause severe damage to your teeth and gums.
When plaque covers your teeth for an extended period, it repeatedly attacks and wears away enamel. This results in cavities and chronic tooth decay.
Left untreated, plaque hardens into tartar, which is even more dangerous. Tartar accumulates along the gum line and causes swelling, irritation, and bleeding. These are the first signs of the early phase of periodontal disease called gingivitis. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can still be reversed in this stage, so it’s vital to give your mouth the care and attention it needs before gingivitis accelerates into periodontitis.
How to Fight Plaque at Home
Plaque is always accumulating in your mouth, even if you don’t know it, so there’s never a bad time to start fighting plaque at home!
Use these tips and tricks to keep plaque under control and prevent the complications of tartar and gingivitis:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste
- Floss every night to remove plaque from between the teeth
- Swish with mouthwash after brushing and flossing
- Limit foods that are high in sugar, processed, and refined
- Choose nutritious meals high in smile-friendly calcium, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, and vitamin D
- Drink water instead of soda or juice
Dental Cleanings in Kalamazoo
It’s also essential to visit your dentist every six months for a preventive checkup. Every regular appointment allows Dr. Lintner the opportunity to examine your mouth, remove plaque and tartar buildup, and identify any potential issues while they’re still easy to treat.
Call our dental office today to schedule your next checkup and give your smile the protection it deserves.