Plaque is the accumulation of bacteria on your teeth. It is invisible to the eye, but is harmful to the teeth as it interacts with certain foods, releasing an acid which causes tooth decay. Built-up plaque can also turn into tartar, which is much harder to remove. Removing plaque is very easy to do, as it involves little more than an effective cleaning!
Method 1 : Brushing Away the Plaque
- Locate plaque using a stain. Plaque is practically invisible, so it can be very difficult to know how much is on your teeth. To overcome this, you can purchase “disclosing tablets” in the grocery or drug store. Once chewed, these tablets will stain the plaque on your teeth bright red, making it easy for you to examine your teeth for plaque and identify the areas you need to target with a toothbrush.
- Green food coloring applied to your teeth with a q-tip will have the same effect, staining your teeth green for easy plaque identification.
- Use the right kind of toothbrush and toothpaste. To effectively brush your teeth and ensure that you are getting rid of as much plaque as possible, it is important that you have the right tools. Although there are many fancy toothbrushes on the market, the American Dental Association states that any “soft nylon brush with rounded-end, polished bristles” will do the trick.Hard bristled toothbrushes can be too abrasive and wear away tooth enamel. In addition to the right toothbrush, you will also need a good fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens teeth and protects them from decay and the formation of cavities.
- Electric toothbrushes are not any more effective at cleaning teeth than regular manually-operated ones. However, some people find that they are inclined to brush their teeth more regularly and for longer when they own an electric toothbrush, so investing in one may not be a bad idea.
- Dentists recommend that you should replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, as they become less effective at cleaning over time.
- Use the correct brushing technique. When brushing your teeth, hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line and sweep the brush away from the gums, in a short vertical, back-and-forth, or circular motions. Try not too scrub too hard, as this can actually damage the enamel on your teeth.
- Focus on each tooth individually. Pay attention to each tooth as you brush, making sure that you don’t miss any. Remember to brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces, and pay some special attention to those hard to reach teeth at the back. Brushing your teeth properly should take about two minutes — try using a stopwatch to get a feel it, and hum a song to yourself to pass the time.
- Remember to brush your tongue. Plaque can easily build up on the surface of the tongue due to food residues, so make sure to give it a little gentle scrub too. This will also help to freshen your breath.
Method 2 : Practicing Good Oral Hygiene
- Brush your teeth twice daily. Brushing your teeth is by far the most effective way of removing plaque, and brushing properly and regularly will help to ensure that less plaque builds up over time. This is important as built-up plaque can calcify into tartar, which is a lot harder to remove. You should brush your teeth once a day at the very least, but dentists recommend brushing twice; once in the morning and once before bed.
- Floss between your teeth. Flossing is an essential component of effective oral hygiene, though unfortunately it is often neglected. Flossing removes bacteria and food particles from between the teeth, helping to prevent the formation of plaque. It should be done once a day, at bedtime, before brushing your teeth. Floss between teeth using a gentle sawing motion, and avoid “snapping” the floss into place, as this can irritate the delicate gum tissue.
- Make sure to use a clean section of floss for between each tooth, otherwise you are just moving bacteria from one part of your mouth to another.
- If you find dental floss awkward to use, try using a dental pick instead. This is a small wooden or plastic stick which can be inserted between the teeth, achieving the same results as flossing.
- Use a mouthwash that targets plaque. Though plaque-busting mouthwashes are not effective enough to remove plaque all by themselves, when used as part of a teeth cleaning routine involving brushing and flossing, they can help to loosen plaque, while giving you minty-fresh breath in the process.
- Avoid sugary and starchy foods. The bacteria found in plaque thrive on sugary and starchy foods. In fact, every time you eat these kinds of foods, the bacteria release an acid which leads to tooth decay and cavities. To avoid this, try to minimize your consumption of these types of processed foods and pay special attention to your brushing and flossing routine if you decide to indulge.
- Get regular, professional cleanings. Even if you implement the most rigorous oral hygiene routine at home, you can still benefit from a visit to the dentist every six months or so. Only a dentist can give you the thorough, professional cleaning which will remove the most hard-to-reach plaque and stubborn tartar.
Method 3 : Trying Home Remedies
- Use baking soda. This is one of the oldest natural remedies for home plaque removal. Simply shake a small amount of baking soda into a bowl, wet your toothbrush, then dip the bristles into the baking soda to coat. Brush your teeth as normal. If you like, you can also mix a pinch of salt into the baking powder.
- Eat apples and melons. Eating an apple or some melon directly after a meal will help to clean your teeth naturally and prevent plaque from building up on the surface of your teeth. This will also help to keep gums healthy and prevent them from bleeding.
- Rub orange peel on your teeth. The vitamin C in citrus fruits such as oranges may help to prevent microorganisms from growing on the surface of teeth. Try rubbing the rind of the orange over the surface of your teeth before going to sleep at night.
- Chew sesame seeds. Chew a spoonful of sesame seeds, but do not swallow. Then use a dry toothbrush to brush your teeth, using the sesame seeds as a kind of toothpaste. They will help to remove plaque and polish your teeth at the same time.
- Apply tomatoes and strawberries to your teeth. Tomatoes and strawberries, like oranges, are rich in vitamin C. Cut them open and rub the juice on the surface of the teeth, leaving it to sit for about five minutes. Rinse out your mouth with a solution of baking soda dissolved in water.
- Make a homemade toothpaste. If you prefer to stay away from the array of chemicals found in most store-bought toothpastes, it is possible to make your own plaque-busting natural version, using just a few simple ingredients. Combine 1/2 cup of coconut oil with 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 little packets of stevia powder and 20 drops of your chosen essential oil, such as peppermint or cinnamon. Store your homemade toothpaste in a small glass jar and use just like regular toothpaste.