Plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease to develop in your mouth, but you can prevent oral health problems from developing when you follow these steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. Plaque cannot be washed away with water, but it can be cleaned off of the surface of your teeth with a toothbrush. We recommend using a fluoride toothpaste that prevents tooth decay.
- Floss between your teeth once a day. A toothbrush can only clean about 60% of the surface of your teeth because it cannot squeeze into the microscopic spaces between them. Use floss or an interdental tool to make sure plaque does not colonize between your teeth.
- Limit the amount of starchy, sugary foods and beverages you eat and drink. Plaque uses sugar to create acids that cause tooth decay. More sugar in your mouth means more acid is causing harm.
- Visit the dentist for regular check-ups. This is especially crucial if plaque has hardened into dental calculus (also known as tartar). Calculus cannot be cleaned off of your teeth with a toothbrush, but it can be scaled away by a dental hygienist.
- Get a dental sealant. This plastic barrier coats the chewing surface of your molars and premolars. These teeth are especially vulnerable to decay because their pits and fissures easily collect food and plaque.