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Plaque on Teeth – Causes and Treatment

Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless or pale yellow film that is constantly forming on your teeth. When saliva, food and fluids combine, plaque – which contains bacteria – forms between your teeth and along the gum line.

Dental plaque begins forming on teeth 4-12 hours after brushing, which is why it is so important to brush thoroughly at least twice a day and floss daily.

How Can Plaque on Teeth Affect My Oral Health?

Plaque is the root cause of many oral health issues. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel causing cavities. The bacteria in plaque can also cause the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. Plaque can also contribute to bad breath and can make your teeth look dingy and yellow.

What Are the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

When plaque isn’t regularly removed, it can accumulate minerals from your saliva and harden into an off-white or yellow substance called tartar.

Tartar builds up along your gum line on the fronts and backs of your teeth. Although attentive flossing may dislodge some tartar buildup, you’ll probably need to visit a dentist to rid yourself of all of it.

What Causes Plaque?

Your mouth is a thriving ecosystem. Bacteria and other organisms come in when you eat, drink, and breathe. Most of the time, a delicate balance is maintained in your oral ecosystem, but problems can arise when certain strains of bacteria become overabundant.

When you eat carbs and sugary foods and drinks, bacteria feed on the sugars, producing acids in the process. Those acids can cause problems like cavities, gingivitis, and other forms of tooth decay.

Tooth decay from plaque can even happen under your gums where you can’t see it, eating away at the support for your teeth.

How to Remove Plaque from Your Teeth in 5 Ways?


Even after all the progress and innovations when it comes to dental health, the best way to remove plaque from your teeth is still be maintaining good oral hygiene. Follow these tips to keep plaque off the teeth and dental issue at bay:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. This will help remove plaque from tooth surfaces and the gums and protect your teeth from decay.
  • Floss your teeth every day, especially before bedtime, to ensure that no food particles are left lodged between the teeth, as this will provide food for the bacteria to grow. Flossing removes food particles from places where brushes cannot, so this is an essential step.
  • Rinse your mouth with a good mouthwash. The swishing action will penetrate deep into tooth crevices, and clean out any residual food. An anti-bacterial mouthwash will also kill the harmful bacteria on the teeth, leaving you with a clean and healthy mouth.
  • Eat a balanced diet, and limit the number of between-meal snacks. Snacks provide extra sugar and starch for bacteria, so if you need one, choose nutritious foods such as plain yogurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables.
  • Get a professional dental cleaning every six months, and a dental exam every year. Cleaning will remove all traces of plaque and tartar from the mouth, and prevent serious dental issues.


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