The Battle Against Dental Plaque

There are many factors that go into dental care, and maintaining a healthy mouth. Some things, like dental plaque, are easy to keep under control when proper hygiene techniques are practiced regularly. Ignoring early warning signs from your body can lead to severe oral diseases and expensive treatments to restore your smile. Dental plaque must be removed from your teeth every single day to prevent the buildup of a hard substance known as tartar, which if left untreated can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums.

What is Plaque?

Most commonly described as a soft, sticky substance or “biofilm”, plaque contains millions of bacteria that feed on the sugar in foods you eat. As the bacteria in plaque metabolize the sugars, they secrete harmful acids onto your teeth, which lead to tooth decay if not properly removed every day.

How are Plaque and Tartar Related?

When you brush your teeth, a large majority of sticky plaque is removed from your mouth and washed away; however, some areas are much harder or impossible for your toothbrush to clean, and some of the biofilm may be left behind. Plaque that remains untouched will eventually harden into a thick substance called tartar, which can only be safely removed by a dental professional because brushing will not work.

What is the Best Way to Remove Plaque?

Because dental plaque is usually colorless, and difficult to see, you may have a hard time determining if you cleaned your mouth well enough. The best way to efficiently clean your teeth is by brushing twice a day, for two full minutes each time, and floss every day or as often as recommended by your dentist.

  • Always use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, and clean every surface of your teeth.
  • After brushing, or at least once a day, floss between all of your teeth with some type of interdental cleaner or floss string to remove any residual plaque and debris.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that is low in sugar and carbohydrates to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.


As a native of northwest Indiana, Nicholas Cain, DDS, is dedicated to providing excellent general, preventive, and family dentistry services to the community that raised him. To schedule your appointment, call Healthy Smiles today at 219-938-2637.