You likely know that plaque can cause tooth decay, and you likely know that brushing, flossing, and professional teeth cleanings are integral parts of plaque defense. However, you may not know other things you can do to minimize plaque. The following are a few suggestions that can aid you in keeping as much plaque as possible off of the surfaces of your teeth.
Water or Anti-Plaque Rinses
Plain water can be used after eating and drinking to remove loose particles and sugar from teeth, which can both contribute to tooth decay. If possible, use fluoridated water due to its known plaque fighting qualities. Perhaps you will want a fresh-feeling mouth and plaque reduction. Unfortunately, water will not minimize the odor of strong foods or beverages. You can choose to rinse with an anti-plaque rinse to control bad breath and eliminate plaque.
Sugar-free Chewing Gum with Xylitol
This option works in a few ways. Chewing stimulates saliva production. The production of saliva is the body's natural defense against dry mouth. People who have dry mouth may suffer from bad breath and tooth decay. Saliva naturally "rinses" away bacteria from teeth and gums. Xylitol is a common ingredient in sugarless gum. It is an ingredient that aids in sweetening the gum, and it also has been shown to be effective in plaque reduction.
Plaque Disclosing Tablets
If you are an adult whose dentist or dental hygienist has mentioned that you are not brushing and flossing correctly, they likely told you this because they observed tartar or plaque during your dental cleanings. It is possible for individuals to have mouths that are structured in a manner that interferes with them being able to brush properly. Sometimes physical dexterity can also impact the ability to brush and floss correctly. If you use plaque disclosing tablets, the tablets will stain your teeth a noticeable color in areas where tooth plaque is at. Best of all, the plaque-filled dye produced can simply be brushed away.
A dental hygienist is a good resource to use for more tips on fighting plaque build-up. They can also help you to better understand tooth brushing and flossing techniques that can aid in better plaque removal. For example, you might benefit from using an automatic toothbrush if manually brushing in a circular motion does not remove all of the plaque from your teeth. You might also be a good candidate for an oral irrigator if you find flossing between your teeth difficult. Oral irrigators utilize water to "floss" between teeth, and in some cases, they do a better job than manual flossing.