Plaque is essentially the start of gum disease problems. Plaque is a build-up of particles from the foods you eat every day. Once sugars are introduced to plaque, it turns into a tooth eating acid that sits just above the gum line. If regular oral care isn't standard, the acid will start eating at the teeth and gums. Plaque that is allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time can cause cavities, gingivitis and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your decaying smile.
Proper brushing of teeth can be done in three steps:
1) Brush teeth gently using a circular motion along the outside and inside of the tooth surface while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle.
2) Make sure to brush each tooth individually and to use the front half of the brush in a circular motion vertically behind the front teeth.
3) Place the brush against the top of your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion to brush. After brushing all your teeth, be sure to brush your tongue in order to remove odor-producing bacteria.
A proper flossing method is vital to ensure the time you are spending flossing is actually cleaning your teeth. First, begin with about 18 inches of total floss; leave approximately 6 inches to floss with, and wind the remainder around one of your middle fingers.
As you begin, rather than bringing the floss down in a straight line, be sure to create a ‘C’ shape with the floss by curving it around the tooth; this ensures you are cleaning the entire surface as opposed to just the side. Gently move the floss up and down the surface of the tooth, and then reverse the C-shape to repeat the process with the adjacent tooth. Prior to moving onto the next set of teeth, unwind your clean floss from your first middle finger and transfer the dirty floss to your opposite middle finger by winding it. Repeat until all teeth have been cleaned, and be sure to use clean floss each time to avoid simply transferring bacteria and debris.
Fluoride is an important part of healthy tooth development and will help prevent cavities.
Fluoride can provide protection from tooth decay in a couple ways:
1) It helps to strengthen the tooth's enamel so it can repel the acid that is formed by plaque.
2) Teeth that have been damaged by plaque can repair and re-mineralize themselves with the help of fluoride.
Fluoride is incapable of repairing already-formed cavities, but it does assist in reversing low levels of tooth decay and helps in preventing new cavities from forming.