Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and can lead to many oral health problems if not removed regularly. When plaque builds up, it can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Over time, it can harden into tartar, which is even harder to remove and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removing plaque through daily brushing and flossing can help prevent these issues and maintain good oral health. It’s important to note that even with regular brushing and flossing, some plaque can still accumulate, which is why regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Taking proper care of your mouth, i.e., teeth and gums, should be considered a health priority, as good oral hygiene can help prevent bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. Good oral hygiene also helps to protect your teeth in your later years.
Research studies have linked poor oral health to some serious diseases. Here are three noteworthy discoveries:
- In 2010, researchers from New York University discovered a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.
- A Harvard University research team found strong evidence of a link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.
- A well-established correlation exists between dental hygiene and heart disease.
How plaque forms
Bacteria in your mouth mixes with food byproducts and proteins to form plaque – this stuff coats your teeth grows below the gum line and sticks to fillings and other dental work.
When plaque hardens, it becomes tartar – which can lead to severe problems, including gum disease and inflammation (along with the abovementioned medical conditions.)
Inflammation of the gums is a condition called gingivitis; the mild form of which is easily treatable.
Tartar almost always surfaces due to lack of oral hygiene over an extended period. The formation of plaque and tartar should motivate someone to begin caring for their teeth.
What to do about plaque build up
The first step is to start properly taking care of the teeth and gums. Here are the teeth brushing basics, per the American Dental Association (ADA):
- Brush your teeth twice daily. Take the time to do a thorough job (don’t rush).
- Use proper equipment. Use good toothpaste with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Battery-operated and electric toothbrushes may reduce plaque and mild gum disease better than manual brushing.
- Use proper technique. Hold the toothbrush at a slight angle – toward the area when the tooth meets the gum line. Brush the chewing surfaces, inside and outside of the teeth and the tongue.
- Maintain your equipment. Properly rinse and store the toothbrush in an upright position until the next use. Don’t cover the brush with anything, as this can encourage the growth of bacteria.
- Replace your brush. Replace your brush every three to four months, usually when the bristles frayed.
- Floss your teeth daily.
- Take about eighteen inches of floss and wrap the ends around your middle fingers, leaving about one to two inches of floss to work with.
- Use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth, gently sliding it up and down against the side of each tooth and under the gumline.
- Use a clean section of floss for each tooth, and be sure to floss both sides of every tooth, including the back molars.
Natural Ways to Remove Plaque From Your Teeth
Some people prefer using more natural methods for oral hygiene. For example, you can make your own mouthwash and toothpaste at home!
Preparing homemade mouthwash is simple and efficient. Additionally, self-made mouthwash isn’t loaded with alcohol and other chemicals. We’ve included four simple recipes for making your oral care products. As you’ll see, all of these ingredients are widely available, inexpensive, and healthy.
They’re also effective at helping remove tartar and other bacteria from the mouth. So, let’s get going!
Ingredients: anise, mint oil, lemon, water.
Mix a few drops of each ingredient in a glass of water and rinse 4-5 times daily.
Recipe #2 (perfect for built-up plaque)
Ingredients: ½ cup of rosemary, 1 cup of fresh mint, and 2 cups water.
Bring the water to a boil, then add the mint and rosemary. Leave the mix for about fifteen minutes, and then drain. When the mix is cool, rinse your mouth thoroughly.
Recipe #3 (natural toothpaste; good for plaque removal)
Ingredients: 7 tablespoons (tbsp.) of coconut oil, 7 tbsp. baking soda, essential oil (tea tree oil and clove essential oil is recommended), 1 ½ tbsp. of Stevia.
(A 2014 study discovered the following about essential oils: they efficiently inhibit plaque, can be used with dental implants, and also inhibit certain problematic bacteria strains.
Unrelatedly (but to our benefit!), the scent of lavender oil reduces anxiety and stress!)
Mix all ingredients until the paste has a consistent texture. Use this natural mixture every day instead of regular toothpaste, if desired.
Ingredient: coconut oil (that’s all!).
(Dentists and other oral health practitioners have lauded coconut oil for its numerous benefits – fighting bacteria, cleaning the mouth’s orifices, preventing cavities, and whitening teeth.)
Swish around a couple of tbsp. of coconut oil and allow the substance to melt for fifteen to twenty minutes. Rinse with coconut oil daily to improve and maintain oral health!
Final Thoughts: Removal of Plaque Is Essential to Lifelong Dental Health
Removing plaque from your teeth is imperative to keep your teeth shiny, white, and, most importantly, healthy. These homemade mixtures can help you have cleaner teeth and fresher breath. To your health!