Even though practically every commercial for dental hygiene in history has warned you about the dangers of plaque, they hardly ever go into detail about what plaque actually is. Plaque is often said in the same breath with the phrase, “Plaque and tartar,” but the distinction between the two matters quite a bit. So in case you’ve been wondering all this time, we’ve got 6 facts you might not already know about plaque.
What Even Is Plaque?
Plaque is the soft, sticky film that develops on and between your teeth while you’re not brushing. If your teeth feel rough, chances are that’s plaque on them.
What Is Plaque Made Of?
Plaque is made of millions of bacteria that process the sugar and starches you eat. They aren’t necessarily good or bad bacteria, but they won’t ever fully go away.
What’s So Bad About Plaque?
Plaque itself isn’t the problem. Plaque becomes an issue when it lingers on your teeth for longer than 48 hours and becomes tartar, which is sometimes known as calculus.
What Is Tartar?
Tartar is a much stronger, harder material that develops from plaque. Tartar can only be removed from your teeth by a dental professional, and not by brushing or flossing at home.
How Do You Get Rid of Plaque?
The best way to get rid of plaque is to brush your teeth twice daily and floss. This will sweep the soft plaque off of your teeth and from the hard to reach places. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well. You have plaque there too!
Can Your Mouth Ever Be Plaque-Free?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to completely rid your mouth of bacteria. You will never be able to completely eliminate all of the plaque from your mouth, and you will eventually get tartar. So, it’s important to go to your dental check-ups to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.