There are two keys to keeping your teeth happy and healthy for the long-haul — the first is taking care of them at home, and the second is visiting your dentist routinely for a checkup and cleaning. Your dentist has the last part under control, but when it comes to at-home hygiene, are you really doing enough to keep your teeth clean? Keep reading to learn more about what you should do daily to prevent plaque buildup and help to ensure you leave your dentist in Ephrata with a clean bill of health every time!
Plaque vs. Tartar
Let’s start with the basics of dental hygiene: the difference between plaque and tartar. You want to minimize both, but what are they exactly? Plaque is the clear, sticky substance that is constantly forming on the surface of your teeth throughout the day. When it is not removed through routine brushing and flossing, it turns into tartar — a process that can happen in as little as 24 hours. Once hard, yellow tartar has formed, it cannot be removed through brushing and flossing alone. You will need to visit your dentist to have it cleaned off using special tools.
Because their presence causes tooth decay and gum disease, oral health maintenance is a continual battle against plaque and tartar.
Keeping Your Smile Clean
You can do a lot on your own to prevent oral health hazards that arise from plaque and tartar. Some tips that can be performed regularly at home include:
- Brush teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel and help protect it against plaque that can gradually weaken the enamel.
- Floss between teeth once a day. Work the dental floss carefully between each tooth and around the base of the gum to remove plaque buildup.
- Reduce sugar in your diet.
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash to further prevent plaque and tartar.
- Chew sugar-free gum after and between meals. This habit stimulates saliva production, which helps to wash away food particles and plaque naturally.
Prevention Is Crucial
Do your part to keep plaque and tartar at bay and you can feel good knowing that you are taking the necessary steps to keep your smile healthy and clean for a lifetime to come. It is always easier to keep a problem from occurring than it is to fix one after the fact, after all — and that is especially true when it comes to your oral health. In addition to maintaining excellent oral hygiene at home, visit your dentist twice-annually for a checkup and cleaning. With a little effort to stop plaque and tartar throughout the year, you will notice these visits go smoother and smoother each time! When it comes to your smile, prevention is always best.
Meet the Practice
Dr. Sean Moriarty, Dr. Suzanne Ahnquist and Dr. Justin Ngo offer excellence in preventive, general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. With a complete list of services for patients of all ages, this team combines expertise to provide full-service care in a state-of-the-art office. To learn more about why prevention matters or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to contact your family dentist in Ephrata at 717-733-1088.