Plaque is the thin biofilm that is deposited on the surface of the teeth when they are left uncleaned for a period of time.
It is the cornerstone of gum disease and the first brick laid in the direction of periodontal breakdown.
So naturally, we would want to explore the best way to clean plaque off teeth.
How to clean plaque off teeth with braces
Plaque is usually formed at the line between the teeth and the gums. It is also found in the shielded, difficult to clean areas between the teeth. If you have heavy restorations, such as a crown and bridge on your teeth or you have braces, you would expect that plaque accumulation in these areas is extremely elevated.
That is because plaque is formed by food remnants, which find it easy to lodge themselves under the bridge or around the bracket, and it is extremely difficult to clean in these areas.
So what is the best way to clean plaque off teeth?
Well to tell the truth, no single method of oral hygiene is enough on its own to do this mission. What the toothbrush does cannot be done by flossing and where floss reaches is inaccessible with a brush.
So it is not a question of the best way to clean plaque but the best combination of actions needed to thoroughly clean the teeth all around. Which is why we recommend the following:
Brushing is the corner stone of oral hygiene. There is simply no oral hygiene without proper and regular brushing.
The toothbrush is more than capable of cleaning the visible surfaces of the teeth. Which are the outer, inner and top surfaces of each tooth.
Brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes and in 3 main consistencies. These are:
Methods of brushing
The method of brushing is also important. A variety of methods exist, but the most effective one to clean the teeth is called Stillman’s technique. This is where you place the brush on the surface of the tooth just adjacent to the gums and move it away from the gums in a sweeping motion.
This method may prove difficult for children, which is why we recommend using a circular motion to clean the surface of the teeth, which is known as Fone’s technique.
Use a fluoridated toothpaste
Brushing is aided by the use of toothpaste. Although the act of brushing itself is the most important (meaning brushing without toothpaste should not cause any problems if done correctly and regularly), but toothpaste, especially if fluoridated can add protective layers on the surface of the tooth.
Aswell as decrease the chances of plaque accumulation that leads to decay. It also gives a refreshing sensation and cures bad breath.
Electric toothbrush for people with dexterity trouble
For people with braces, heavily restored teeth, people suffering from limited dexterity such as the elderly or people with Parkinson’s disease, an electric toothbrush may be your answer.
It moves in a circular manner and could very easily clean around braces and in the crown and bridge region.
While mouthwash alone does not do enough, it is a valuable adjunct to brushing. The liquid can slip between the teeth and even under bridges and braces, and if it is full of Fluoride. This could give added protection to the teeth, in addition to treating bad mouth odor.
You simply can’t hope to thoroughly remove plaque off teeth without flossing. As we said before, brushing could clean the visible surfaces of teeth, but what about the invisible?
What about the areas between the teeth? Only flossing can reach these areas. Flossing does not mean strictly using string floss (although it is effective is used correctly), but a variety of flossing methods exist.
How to clean plaque off teeth without dentist
Most recently the emergence of water flossers (or water piks) have made the act of flossing extremely easy. Some even say it is a natural way to clean plaque off teeth because at a minimum only water is needed.
In fact most manufacturers of water flossers claim that it could remove plaque off the visible surfaces of teeth as well, and claim you could do without brushing. Of course nothing scientific has been proven yet, but it shows how important and how effective a water flosser can be.
Not only that, water flossers have solved the dilemma of cleaning with braces and bridges. Studies have scientifically proven it reduces gum disease and gum bleeding to almost the third compared to traditional string floss.
What happens if I don’t clean plaque off my teeth?
If plaque is left uncleaned for more than 3 days, minerals from the saliva and the food you consume start to deposit on your teeth which then hardens forming calculus (aka tartar). This tartar sticks to the surface of the teeth and cannot be removed by any method of oral hygiene.
It must be removed by a dentist.
But if you still decide not to clean this tartar, you are in for a world of problems. Tartar is loaded with bacteria that secrete acids and toxins and could easily initiate gum disease that can lead to decay.
It also physically presses down on the gums causing their bleeding and injury. If this condition is left untreated the situation develops into periodontal disease where bone loss occurs and the teeth start getting mobile.
Meaning your teeth would eventually be rendered useless and would need to be removed.
Best way to clean plaque off teeth is with a robust oral hygiene regime
These are the best actions that could get the sticky plaque off teeth, but only if you do it on a regular basis. We recommend brushing twice daily:
- once before bedtime, using a fluoridated mouthwash as instructed by your dentist, and
- flossing 3 times a week with whichever method you think is best for you.
If you don’t find the best way to clean plaque off teeth, you may as well make peace with the idea of eventually losing them. I’m sure you would not want that to happen. So take our advice from this article and make sure your oral hygiene routine includes a method to remove plaque from your teeth.