The 411 on Dental Plaque

You can’t prevent what you don’t understand.

Plaque, while mostly invisible to the eye, is one of the most common dental problems for patients of all ages here at our dental office in North Burlington.

But what is plaque? Plaque is that sometimes yellow, often fuzzy, film that coats your teeth. Often invisible to the eye, but you can feel it with your tongue. If left to accumulate for too long, it turns into tartar and is much more difficult to remove. For extreme cases, that tartar build up can lead to irritation and swollen gums leaving you at risk for gingivitis (gum disease).

We sometimes here, “no matter what I do, I have a ton of plaque. Why is that?” Some people are just more prone to develop plaque on their teeth; this is common and not cause for alarm, with proper dental support to remove. However, for most, understanding what causes this build up is key to prevention.

Here are a few known reasons, including:
• A diet including sugary drinks and starchy foods
• Poor brushing and flossing (or no flossing) technique
• Smoking
• Dry mouth
• Medications

Dentist in Burlington Says to Eat Your Dental Troubles Away
Okay, this might have been a far-fetched headline to catch your attention, but what you eat could benefit your dental health and help you prevent the build-up of plaque leading to tartar. Choosing certain foods will help you produce more saliva (gross, but hear us out), which, along with water, helps to wash away plaque causing bacteria and food particles. Here are a few foods that will help you create a healthier mouth environment:
Water: This is really the healthiest option when reaching for a drink. Not only do our bodies need it (we are made up of 60% water), but it helps wash away food particles that could lead to bacteria build up.
Crunchy fruits and veggies: Choose crunchy fruits and vegetables that have high water content – celery, pears, apples, carrots. Requiring you to chew (saliva producing event), they are considered your best natural toothbrush.
• Cheese, Milk, Yogurt: Low in sugar and high in calcium, these dairy options are useful for helping strengthen tooth enamel. And, you guess it, the chewing required to process this food helps in the production of saliva.

Preventing Plaque: Tips for your Family
While there will always be a build up of plaque on your teeth over time, there are some steps you can take to reduce and slow down the build up. Here are the most common steps:
• Eat healthy (see above)
• Brush twice daily and floss (yeah – we know)
• Rinse with a mouthwash
• Commit to regular dental visits for a full examination and cleaning

With regular dental visits to your family dentist in North Burlington, you can rest assured that plaque will be removed, returning your health to its naturally healthy state!