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What is Plaque?

Most people know that it is bad for your teeth, but what is plaque exactly?

Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria and sugars that forms on our teeth. Bacteria use the sugars from our foods to grow, which produces acids as a byproduct and these acids dissolve the enamel (the hard surface layer of our teeth) like with tooth erosion.

Plaque more easily forms on irregular surfaces, which is another reason to brush thoroughly. The better you brush, the smoother the surface of your teeth get and the longer it takes for plaque to build up.

Important: Brushing better is different from pushing harder on your brush, as you can read in our article “How To Brush Your Teeth“.

Some electric toothbrushes have therefore a special brushing mode that focusses on polishing your teeth, like the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, making them extra smooth and whiter. Plaque can not only damage your teeth, it can also irritate the gums, which can lead to Gingivitis.

How To Prevent Plaque Build-up?

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day. As mentioned above brushing your teeth not only removes the plaque (partially), but it also makes the surface of your teeth smoother, making it harder for plaque to form.
  2. Brush using an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can remove up to 7 times more plaque (depending on the type of electric brush you use) than manual brushes.
  3. Floss daily. Brushing is a start, but it is not enough to remove the plaque build-up between your teeth, as your brush (especially manual brushes) cannot reach these areas. Flossing really adds to your oral hygiene.
  4. Use water floss. Although it is important, flossing can be time-consuming for most people. Good news for those people: you can buy water floss devices that are very easy to use and remove plaque even better than your regular floss or toothpicks.
  5. Use mouthwash. Use a mouthwash that has anti-microbial activity. This kills the bacteria in the plaque and thereby prevent further build-up.
  6. Minimize snacking. Eating snacks (or food in general) between your meals provides nutrients for the bacteria within the plaque. Try to minimize snacking in between meals.
  7. Visit your dentist. Dentists clean your teeth thoroughly and remove plaque. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis is a very good habit.