WHEN MOST OF US HEAR WORDS LIKE sticky, bacteria, acid, and decay we tend to cringe a littleand with good reason! Unfortunately, all of those words are characteristics of plaque and tartartwo terms that youve probably heard us use when we visit with you about your teeth!
Dont worry, theres no need to panicwe have some handy tips on how to avoid plaque and tartar. But first, lets back up a little. In order to figure out how we can best prevent plaque and tartar we need to know exactly what they are, right?
The best way to understand plaque is to think of it as a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria (and other unfriendly materials) that coat the surfaces of your teeth. When sugars and starches come in contact with plaque, an acid is created that can attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down tooth enamel and lead to cavities, decay, and/or gum disease.
Tartar, on the other hand, is a deposit that forms when plaque hardens on your teeth. For most of us, tartar deposits begin to build up faster as we age. Unlike plaque, tartar bonds quite strongly to tooth enamel and can only be removed by a dental professional. Prolonged tartar buildup can cause a tooths enamel to break down, resulting in decay and/or cavities.
So in order to avoid cavities we have to avoid tartar, and in order to avoid tartar we have to avoid plaque. Here are some recommendations from Dr. Lee andDr. Meyrowitz on the best ways to fight plaque and tartar buildup.
- Floss once a day.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride and fights plaque.
- Use a quality toothbrush and remember to replace it every three months, or as soon as the bristles have worn down.
- Add a mouthwash to your routine to provide longer protection even after youre done brushing.
- Eat well-balanced meals.
- Brush after snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly for oral exams and cleanings before you come to visit Dr. Lee andDr. Meyrowitz so that any tartar buildup you might have can be removed.
Take care of your teeth and fight cavities! Your bank account and smile will thank you. And since an unhealthy mouth makes it harder for us to straighten your teeth and brighten your smile, don’t forgo those professional cleanings!
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