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Teeth Cleaning Tips: Avoid Plaque and Protect Your Gums

Most adults are brushing their teeth wrong – are you one of them? These teeth cleaning tips will not only help you remove plaque, you’ll protect your gums.

We all know that keeping your teeth clean is important, but anyone who goes to a dentist also knows the dread of being asked about their flossing or cleaning habits.

If you have ever felt like your teeth were wearing fuzzy slippers, you’ve experienced a slip up in keeping your teeth clean the right way. How do we know? Because what you’re feeling is plaque!

At Regal Dentistry, our number one goal is to maintain your dental health and keep your teeth clean and healthy. We love our patients to be involved and know the proper methods to keep up with their health as well.

Everyone on our skilled staff is here to provide you with the latest technology to keep your teeth healthy and the top procedures to solve any problem you may experience, from cavities to needing dental implants.

To better help you, we love maintaining our blog to keep our patients and community up to date about important dental health topics and procedures, like how to prevent gum recession and what to expect after dental implant surgery.

So what do you need to do to keep your teeth clean and avoid plaque buildup to protect your gums?

What is plaque?

Plaque is a natural part of our mouth. It’s a usually white or colorless accumulation of bacteria along our gum lines. Everyone gets plaque but, surprisingly, 35% of people say that they’ve never had any!

That’s likely because plaque is a mystery to many people. That’s why we’re here to break down what plaque is and how you complete some great at-home teeth cleaning.

Because bacteria is constantly growing and flourishing, it’s important to brush your teeth frequently to remove the plaque before more forms or before it hardens.

Think of it this way: the sooner it’s removed, the less chance it has to grow, harden, or damage your teeth!

So what makes plaque thrive? Well, our food does the trick!

If you are eating a diet that is high in sugars or starch, you may notice that your teeth have more plaque than normal. This is because the bacteria that causes plaque loves sugars and uses that to grow and attack our teeth.

Within just 48 hours, plaque can harden into tartar. If it’s left on the tooth after this, it becomes tartar and basically impossible to remove on your own. Though removing tartar is part of your regular cleaning, you should avoid it as much as possible to save the health of your teeth!

Though removing tartar is part of your regular cleaning, you should avoid it as much as possible to save the health of your teeth!

What plaque can do to damage your teeth

Now that we know what plaque is, it’s important to know how it can damage our teeth.

In a nutshell, plaque is able to damage our teeth because the sugars and bacteria that allow plaque and tartar to stick to our teeth also attack the tooth itself.

The enamel on your tooth is like a protective shield that cannot be regrown or replaced once it is gone. Plaque is able to attack and eat away at your tooth’s enamel. This weakens your tooth, which is never a good thing!

Cavities and other nasty conditions can occur and damage your oral health as a result of plaque left to develop on your teeth.

How much more complicated can teeth cleaning be?

Cleaning your teeth doesn’t have to be a big production. For example, brushing should take you at least two minutes – so sticking to that schedule, along with using the right toothbrush and products, should set you on the right path.

5 ways to avoid plaque and gum recession

Brush long enough

As we mentioned earlier, brushing your teeth should take you two minutes. 

This may seem like a long time but think of it this way: your teeth have so many nooks and crannies that it is impossible to properly clean them all with a thirty-second brush!

Split your two minutes of brushing time up. You can appoint 30 seconds to each part of your mouth. You can try starting with the top left, moving to the top right, then bottom left, and finally the bottom right.

By the time you finish with your two-minute brush, you may be surprised how squeaky clean your teeth feel and how fresh your mouth is afterward!

Brush often enough

We always hear that brushing twice a day is what we should aim for.

Realistically, this doesn’t always happen even though we should brush or rinse our mouth after every meal to avoid plaque buildup. (but remember, wait to brush after you eat acidic foods.)

Around 23% of Americans admit that they didn’t brush their teeth for two or more days. This means that 23% of Americans let their plaque turn into tartar just because they wanted to avoid that two-minute brush.

Treat your teeth properly and make sure you brush often enough to prevent decay!

Use the right technique

This one is a bit less obvious. You need to have your technique down pat if you want to be brushing your teeth properly.

That back and forth motion most people use to clean their teeth isn’t the best way.

Instead, you will want to angle your brush to properly remove the plaque along your gumline. Make sure to take your time brushing all sides of your teeth, reaching to the back corners and still sweeping your gumline.

You’ll also want to brush your tongue to complete the process and follow this with a good mouthwash. If you want to make your dentist extra proud and, more importantly, keep your teeth in good shape- floss!

Get your gums

When plaque is allowed to build along your gums, your gumline may become irritated.

This is the first step towards gum disease, and it should be avoided at all costs!

To treat your gums right, make sure to brush them as you are cleaning your teeth. This should be gentle to clean and massage your gums to increase blood flow.

If you have gingivitis, it is important that you keep as much plaque as possible off your gums to allow them to heal and prevent gum recession.

Don’t avoid the dentist

We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but your dentist isn’t someone who should be kept away!

Even people with excellent dental health should still be seen every six months for a professional teeth cleaning and check up. Why? Because dental emergencies can happen quickly and can be expensive, so prevention is the best route to take!

Have more questions?

Make sure to come in for a visit or contact us with any questions you may have!

It’s our job to help you keep your teeth in great condition and that can all start with professional teeth cleaning.