Plaque – what you need to know

Plaque: What is it and how do we get rid of it?

People used to think that as you got older you naturally lose your teeth. We now know that this is not true. By following easy steps for keeping your teeth and gums healthy – plus seeing your dentist regularly — you can have your teeth for a lifetime!

What is plaque?
Plaque is made up of invisible masses of harmful germs that live in the mouth and stick to the teeth.

  • Some types of plaque cause tooth decay
  • Other types of plaque cause gum disease

Red, puffy or bleeding gums can be the first signs of gum disease. If gum disease is not treated, the tissues holding the teeth in place are destroyed and the teeth are eventually lost.

Dental plaque is difficult to see unless it’s stained. You can stain plaque by chewing  “disclosing tablets,” found at chemists and your dentist. The colour left on the teeth will show you where there is still plaque—and where you have to brush again to remove it.

Ask your dentist or dental hygienist if your plaque removal techniques are okay.

Step One: Floss
Use floss to remove germs and food particles between teeth. Rinse.

NOTE! Ease the floss into place gently. Do not snap it into place — this could harm your gums.

Step Two: Brush Teeth
Use any tooth brushing  method that is comfortable, but do not scrub hard back and forth. Small circular motions and short back and forth motions work well. Rinse.

Electric toothbrushes are more effective in cleaning teeth than a manual brush. Please speak to your hygienist regarding this.

Use a toothpaste containing fluoride as this is what protects teeth from decay.

Brush the tongue for a fresher feeling and fresh breath! Rinse again.
Remember: food residues, especially sweets, provide nutrients for the germs that cause tooth decay, as well as those that cause gum disease. That’s why it is important to remove all food residues, as well as plaque, from teeth. Remove plaque twice a day for the best results.