The perfect smile is considered one of an individual’s most attractive features. It radiates excitement, joy, health, confidence, and vitality; it plays a crucial role in the happiness of your everyday life.
Unfortunately, many things can harm your teeth (and smile), including irregular dental care, smoking, too much caffeine, etc. These seemingly innocent daily behaviors may cause dental plaque and gum disease problems.
Let’s dive into what dental plaque is, how to clean it, how you can avoid it in the first place, and more.
What is plaque?
Dental plaque is the sticky film that forms on individuals’ teeth after the bacteria in the mouth mix with starchy or sugary foods. Everyone has a dental plaque, and it’s removed by tooth brushing and flossing.
A plaque has bacteria that can damage your tooth enamel and lead to bad breath, tooth cavities, gum diseases, and tooth loss. Removing the plaque can help you prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.
If the plaque stays on your teeth for long, it hardens into tartar. Also known as dental calculus, tartar buildup is a rough and porous coating that forms above and below the gum line.
When tartar forms on your teeth, it can only be removed by a dentist using special tools. But before it gets to this point, clean the plaque on your teeth by following the following steps.
What are the best ways to clean plaque?
Reducing the amount of plaque or calculus on your teeth can reduce your chances of getting cavities and other gum diseases. You can clean your teeth with baking soda, vinegar, oil, etc.
Here are the methods you may use to clean remove plaque from your teeth:
Brushing with baking soda
This is one of the safest and most effective methods for removing plaque. It’s a surefire to clean the plaque without harming your enamel.
The human mouth has hundreds of bacteria, some of which are harmful to your dental health. For instance, Streptococcus mutans is a bacteria found in the mouth that causes tooth decay.
Baking soda has antimicrobial properties, meaning it can protect your tooth from decay. In fact, research shows that baking soda can significantly minimize the number of Streptococcus mutans in your mouth.
You may use toothpaste that contains baking soda or sprinkle little amounts of baking soda powder on the toothbrush. Whichever method you decide to use, you can be sure that it’ll remove the plaque.
Another benefit of using baking soda to clean plaque is protecting against demineralization. This is a chemical process that removes calcium from the tooth enamel.
Consuming carbohydrates can reduce the pH level in your mouth, creating an acidic environment that encourages demineralization. Baking soda has a high pH, neutralizing the acid in your mouth.
You can buy baking soda online or in your local grocery stores.
Oil pulling using coconut oil
Oil pulling is an ancient practice that is also very effective at removing plaque from the teeth. It involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene.
Oil pulling is associated with a traditional medicine system from India called Auyrveda. Research shows that this method can kill bacteria in the mouth and enhance dental health.
Coconut oil is known to be the most effective for oil pulling, making because of its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. This type of oil also has lauric acid, which is widely known for its antimicrobial properties.
A recent research study shows that oil pulling using coconut oil reduces dental plaque by 50%. The study also found that gingivitis symptoms decreased significantly, mainly because of reduced dental plaque.
Here is a step-by-step guide to oil pull the plaque:
- Place about one tablespoonful of warm coconut oil in your mouth
- Swish the oil around the mouth for about 5-10 minutes.
- Spit the coconut oil on a paper towel or a trash can
Note: Avoid spitting the oil into the sink as that could clog the pipes.
You may buy coconut oil online in health food stores. You may also use almond oil, sesame oil, and olive oil in the place of coconut oil.
Practice good oral hygiene
This is perhaps the best way to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. It involves following the recommendations of professional dental practitioners.
For instance, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. The organization also recommends that individuals floss at least once per day.
Flossing helps you remove food pieces and plaque trapped between the teeth and the hard-to-reach areas. After flossing, the toothbrush will help you remove the plaque on the surface of the teeth.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you brush your teeth effectively:
- Use fluoride treatments or toothpaste
- Start cleaning the top molars at the back of the mouth.
- Use short, circular brush strokes
- Brush the back and front surfaces of the upper teeth
- Repeat the process 1-3 times.
Although manual toothbrushes can effectively remove plaque on teeth, research shows that electric toothbrushes can do much better work. For the best results, use an electric toothbrush with an oscillating head.
You may rinse your mouth with mouthwash after flossing and brushing your teeth. Mouthwash with fluoride is recommended for extra protection against tartar and plaque.
You should use a stronger type of mouthwash if you have gingivitis. However, it’s always advisable to visit a dentist to prescribe the right mouthwash for your condition.
Clean the plaque with white vinegar
White vinegar is yet another effective method for cleaning plaque on your teeth. All you need white vinegar, warm salt water, and a glass.
To get started:
- Using a glass, mix two tablespoonfuls of white vinegar with warm salt water and stir
- Gargle the resulting solution to remove plaque and tartar
The acidic nature of white vinegar helps in killing bacteria and preventing infection. However, this method may promote the demineralization of calcium in your mouth and teeth.
Using orange peels for plaque and tartar removal
You can use the orange peels you throw away after eating an orange to remove plaque and tartar deposits. The peels contain pectin, vitamin C, gluconate, soluble fiber, and limonene that effectively remove plaque and whiten your teeth.
The orange peels are easy to use. You’ll take inside of an orange peel and rub it along the gum areas and teeth.
You can also make a paste from the mashed bits of the orange peel and use it to clean your teeth. Mash the orange peels and mix them with small amounts of warm water, then use the resulting thick solution to brush your teeth.
Tips to Help Control Tartar
Of course, the best way to clean plaque and remove tartar is to prevent it before it starts.
Here are a few methods to remove tartar deposits from your teeth:
- Brush your teeth regularly using a toothbrush with soft bristles. Dental hygienists recommend brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, ensuring you clean every part of the mouth.
- Although manual toothbrushes can help remove tartar and plaque, electric-powered toothbrushes are recommended for best results. These toothbrushes have undergone quality disease control and safety tests, passing all.
- Buy the tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride to help repair the damaged enamel. Other kinds of toothpaste gave triclosan – a substance that fights bacteria in plaque.
- Regardless of how good your dental cleaning is, don’t forget to floss your teeth. Flossing helps remove plaque buildup between your teeth and keep tartar away from the hard-to-reach areas.
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash, rinse your mouth daily to kill bacteria that cause plaque.
- Watch your diet. The harmful bacteria in your mouth do well on starchy and sugary foods – they release harmful acids when you consume sugary products like soft drinks.
- Refrain from smoking. Research shows that individuals who consume tobacco products are at high risks of developing plaque and tartar.
Although not a home remedy, you should see a dental hygienist regularly. You should get regular dental checkups, e.g., after every six months.
The oral professional cleaning will remove any plaque or tartar that might have formed to avoid other oral diseases. The doctor will also recommend the best ways to minimize symptoms and prevent further damage if they notice cavities or gum inflammation.
The bottom line
Plaque and tartar can suck the perfect smile out of you. Plaque leads to yellow teeth and may become the much-evil coating called tartar that can cause dental problems.
The good news is that you can clean the plaque before it becomes a disaster. This post provides you with 5 of the best methods to remove plaque from your teeth and restore your smile.
If you have a dental problem related to plaque or tartar buildup, you should schedule an appointment with an oral health practitioner. This will help you address the issue before it becomes hard to treat.