Plaque happens. It’s inevitable. Sorry, to burst your bubble, but it’s true.
It doesn’t matter how well you care for your teeth, you will most likely get plaque or tartar, or both. You can brush, floss, and rinse every single day, but grime and dirt left behind from food will build up on your teeth.
This is why visiting the dentist is so important. They can remove the plaque and tartar buildup.
Plaque And Tartar — Different Names For The Same Thing?
“Plaque” and “tartar” are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually not the same thing. They’re related to each other, but different.
Plaque On Teeth
Technically speaking, plaque is a biofilm of microscopic bacteria. Put simply, plaque is just a huge amount of slimy little bacteria grouped together.
It sounds gross, but everybody gets it. Eating and drinking naturally build up in the mouth and lead to debris and plaque.
Even right after you brush your teeth, a layer of saliva containing glycoproteins starts to accumulate. These glycoproteins help protect your teeth, but they also let bacteria adhere to the surrounding membrane, which leads to the formation of plaque.
Oxygen then fuels the growth and reproduction of the first bacteria that forms on this membrane after cleaning your teeth. They soon become micro colonies, joined by other bacteria. This is what we know as plaque.
What Does Plaque Look Like?
Plaque typically shows up as a discoloration on your teeth, usually the insides. It can be black, orange, or yellow. Regardless of its color, it’s still not good to have sitting on your teeth.
Tartar teeth is basically hardened plaque. This happens when your saliva and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) put minerals on your teeth.
Tartar occurs mostly in areas of the mouth with plenty of saliva, like the molars and incisors. It can even form around the gum line, which can lead to swelling.
It looks similar to plaque because it’s just layers of plaque that have hardened. So the coloring will look similar.
Why Plaque And Tartar Removal Are So Important
Besides the fact that plaque and tartar are unsightly and, frankly, gross, they can cause cavities. If you don’t remove them right away, they will build up and may lead to worse situations, like infections and, eventually, tooth loss.
When you don’t brush, floss, and visit your dentist on a regular basis, plaque and tartar build up over time. Hence, the importance of keeping your teeth as clean as possible.
How To Remove Plaque And Tartar From Teeth
Beyond just brushing and flossing, there are a couple additional actions you can take to ensure you have plaque- and tartar-free teeth.
Home Remedies To Remove Plaque And Tartar From Teeth
The first option is to clean plaque and tartar yourself. But how do you do this?
Here’s a list of some natural ways you can remove plaque and tartar from your teeth:
- Regularly brush your teeth using a steady and calm motion for three minutes. Brushing your teeth about 30 minutes after each meal will help reduce the the amount of plaque and tartar.
- Use fluoridated toothpaste. It will help repair any damage to your teeth, specifically your enamel, and protect against acid and decay.
- Get tartar control toothpaste. You can find toothpaste specifically for controlling tartar buildup.
- Use baking soda as toothpaste. It has abrasive properties that help rub off plaque and tartar. You can use a mixture of water, baking soda, and a dash of salt.
- Use aloe vera gel with water, baking soda, and a bit of lemon juice to clean your teeth.
- Rubbing your teeth with an orange peel, believe it or not, helps kill microorganisms that can lead to plaque and tartar.
- The act of chewing raw vegetables can help clean your teeth.
- Rinse with mouthwash as this can get in the hard-to-reach spaces of your mouth and teeth.
- Using a dental scraper can help remove plaque and tartar.
Professional Dental Cleanings
All of these home remedies for removing plaque are very useful and often necessary, but nothing can replace a professional cleaning from a dentist. Not only have they gone through years of training, but they have special tools that can completely rid your mouth of plaque and tartar.
They’ll use scrapers, special brushes, and mirrors to make sure they get every last bit of gunk off of your teeth. To keep your teeth healthy, you should visit the dentist about every six months, or twice a year.
A typical teeth cleaning, which includes removing plaque and tartar, can cost about $99 without insurance. However, if you were to get a dental discount plan, you could save about 51% and end up paying $48.
How To Protect Your Teeth From Plaque Build Up
So to recap, the best way to keep plaque and tartar from building up is to clean your teeth multiple times a day, use the above home remedies to attack plaque, and get regular checkups with your dentist.
Plaque happens to everyone, that’s why brushing and flossing every day is so important. If plaque is not met with good oral hygiene, it will most likely lead to tartar (layers of plaque on top of each other). In this case, a dentist will need to scrape, brush, and floss your teeth.