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Treat and remove plaque in under 5 minutes with these brilliant home remedies

If you’ve ever had a cavity filled or been scolded by your dentist for not brushing well enough, you’ve probably experienced plaque. Plaque is made up of bacteria, which are fueled by food particles. If left untreated, plaque causestooth decay—deterioration or discoloration of the enamel—and eventually cavities. Keep your teeth and gums healthy by consistently practicing these oral hygiene habits.

Yes, I know we’ve all been told it’s important to brush regularly, but many of us don’t realize we haven’t been brushing “right.” It’s easy to fall into bad brushing habits without thinking about it when it’s something we do so often.

Be More Thorough

Many focus on the front surfaces of the teeth, but don’t specifically brush and floss the most common spots for plaque build-up:

  • backs or insides of the front teeth,

  • down and toward the gumline,

  • around the very back molars.

Work Around the Hardware

  • Wearing braces or permanent retainers can make brushing and flossing more difficult and time-consuming—and often less effective with traditional tools. However, because plaque is more likely to collect around spots that are hard to get to, it’s extra important to avoid plaque buildup that can lead to decalcification between six-month cleanings.

Dentists recommend using flossing threaders to help direct the flossing line through the connective wiring of both braces and underneath the permanent retainer. Although dentists prefer the more penetrative ability of physical flossing, another alternative is using a water pick to help reach especially difficult areas while working around orthodontics.

Use Better Tools

The following are dentist suggestions for choosing your plaque-fighting arsenal.

  • Toothpaste – Today, almost all toothpastes contain fluoride, but today there are a variety of specialized products that may better suit your needs, such as those for sensitivity or enamel repair and protection.5

  • Toothbrush – For brushes, dentists recommend a soft-bristled brush with a small head to better access the hard-to-reach back teeth, a common place to develop cavities. When it comes to powered brushes versus traditional ones, dentists say electric brushes can be more effective particularly for children or people who find brushing difficult.

  • Mouthwash – For extra protection from plaque, use an antibacterial mouthwash. However, be sure to choose an alcohol-free wash to avoid causing dry mouth. Those who find over-the-counter mouth rinses uncomfortable for sensitive teeth can try making their own DIY mouthwashes.

Brush and Floss More Often

If you already follow the standard guideline, to brush twice a day and floss before bed, but you still experience plaque, afternoon or midnight snacking may be the culprit. That’s especially true if the snack consisted of foods that are likely to cause plaque (see below) or you snack after brushing. If this is the case, get one of those foldable travel brushes to keep at work, in your backpack or purse, at the gym—wherever you get the munchies—to keep that plaque from hanging around all day and causing trouble.

Limit Snacking

According to WebMD, our eating habits can have a lot to do with our oral health, too. Dental professionals generally recommend limiting between-meal snacks, especially overnight. But when you do indulge, choose tooth-friendly foods, and brush again—especially after consuming foods high in plaque-causing acids.

Make Wise Snacking Choices

According to, even some healthy snacks can be enemies to your teeth.

  • Sour candies

  • Bread

  • Potato chips

  • Dried fruits

  • Ice chips

  • Citrus

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Caffeinated drinks

  • Alcohol

  • Tobacco

Instead of these options, WebMD suggests choosing “nutritious foods, such as plain yogurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables. Vegetables, such as celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralize plaque-causing acids.”1

Stay Hydrated

We already know drinking plenty of water is good for us, but for those more prone to oral health concerns, water can have additional benefits. Many medications today cause dry mouth, which limits your mouth’s ability to produce saliva. According to Healthgrades, “Saliva helps prevent 11tooth decay and control bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the mouth. Without enough saliva, you may not only develop tooth decay (or cavities), you may also develop mouth sores or infections.”

Try these habits to treat and prevent dry mouth:

  • Make sure your water is fluoridated. Children need at least a pint of fluoridated water a day to prevent tooth decay.

  • Take advantage of over-the-counter dry mouth treatments, such as sprays and lozenges.

  • To encourage saliva flow, chew sugarless gum or take sugarless hard candy.

These home remedies are a great start to reducing and preventing plaque. However, if they don’t address your oral health concerns, see your dentist for in-office treatments, such as fluoride treatments or dental sealants.

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