What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Plaque?

Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021
fastest way to get rid of plaque
When it comes to removing plaque and preventing tartar buildup on teeth, the key is to maintain good oral hygiene

When it comes to removing plaque and preventing tartar buildup, the key is to maintain good oral hygiene. Here are the best ways to get rid of plaque from teeth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for 2-3 minutes at a time using gentle circular motions, making sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth and tongue.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft to medium bristles and a small head, and invest in an electric toothbrush for better plaque removal.
  • Replace your toothbrush or head every 3-4 months, or earlier if the bristles appear flared and worn.
  • Floss daily to remove hidden particles between your teeth that may remain no matter how thoroughly you brush. 
  • Hold the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and slip it between each tooth and along the gum line gently. 
  • You may even use water flossers or dental picks if traditional flossing isn’t possible (for example if you wear braces).
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash if advised by your dentist.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of sugary, processed foods.
  • Limit your intake of acidic food and drinks, including carbonated beverages.
  • If you do drink anything acidic, use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth. Avoid holding the drink in your mouth or swishing it around.
  • Go for regular dental check-ups (1-2 times a year or more frequently if advised by your dentist) and professional cleanings.
  • If you have any underlying conditions (such as dry mouth) that may contribute to plaque buildup, your doctor may prescribe medications, sealants, or fluoride treatment if needed.

Why is it important to remove plaque from teeth?

Plaque, also called dental biofilm, is a soft and sticky substance that collects around and between teeth. When it accumulates over your teeth, it can make your teeth appear dull or yellowish and feel fuzzy when you roll your tongue over them. 

More importantly, plaque can cause tooth decay and gum diseases. Whenever you eat or drink anything that contains sugar, the bacteria in the plaque release acids that attack your tooth enamel. Over time, plaque buildup can harden to form calculus or tartar, which not only affects the appearance of your teeth, but can also cause difficulty with cleaning and erode tooth enamel. Plaque buildup can cause:

  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis (bleeding or swollen gums)
  • Periodontitis (gum infection)
  • Increased risk of tooth loss

Untreated oral infections may also contribute to the worsening of diseases such as diabetes. Oral problems can even lead to serious health problems, such as heart and brain infections.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021
References
Kids Health. Taking Care of Your Teeth. https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/teeth-care.html

Cleveland Clinic. Dental Plaque. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10953-plaque