The buildup of plaque tartar on the teeth can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, several simple home remedies can help treat and prevent plaque and tartar. Learn them viaMedical News Today! The Oral Surgery DC Team
When people eat, bacteria in the mouth breakdown the carbohydrates from food into acid, which mixes with leftover food particles and saliva to create plaque.
Brushing and flossing often prevent plaque and tartar from forming. However, tartar can be more difficult to remove and sometimes requires a visit to the dentist’s office for a professional cleaning.
Poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease (gingivitis). Recent research has also uncovered possible associations between gum disease and other health conditions, including pneumonia, dementia, and heart disease.
In this article, learn about simple ways to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup at home.
Practicing good oral hygiene
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to remove plaque and tartar. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. They also recommend flossing once a day.
Flossing first will remove pieces of food and plaque from between the teeth and hard-to-reach areas. After flossing, the toothbrush will remove plaque on the surface of the teeth.
To brush the teeth effectively, a person can:
- Start in the back of the mouth with the top molars.
- Use short, circular brush strokes.
- Brush the front and back surfaces of all the upper teeth.
- Repeat steps 1–3 on the bottom teeth.
People can achieve great results using manual toothbrushes. However, a 2014 systematic reviewfound that electric toothbrushes, especially those with oscillating heads, are more effective at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis.
After flossing and brushing the teeth, rinse out the mouth with mouthwash. Many over-the-counter mouthwashes contain fluoride for extra protection against plaque.
People who have gingivitis may require a stronger type of mouthwash. A dentist or another healthcare provider can prescribe antiseptic mouthwashes that are more potent than those available over the counter.
Brushing with baking soda
Brushing with baking soda is a safe and effective way to remove plaque. Baking soda can remove plaque without damaging the enamel.
Studies suggest that toothpaste that contains baking soda may be more effective at reducing the amount of plaque in the mouth than traditional toothpaste.
Baking soda also protects against demineralization, which is a chemical process that removes calcium from tooth enamel.
Carbohydrates from food can drastically lower the pH level in the mouth, creating an acidic environment that causes demineralization.
Scientists measure the acidity of a substance using the pH scale. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance.
The lower limit for enamel pH ranges between 5.1 and 5.5. When the pH drops below this range, demineralization begins to occur.
Baking soda reduces demineralization because it has a high pH, which can help balance the pH level inside the mouth and prevent enamel loss.
The mouth is home to a diverse ecosystem of bacteria, some of which are beneficial while others can be harmful. Streptococcus mutans, for example, is the bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay.
Baking soda also has antimicrobial properties that may prevent tooth decay. Research suggests that baking soda can significantly reduce the amount of S. mutans.
People can find baking soda in many grocery stores and online.