Plaque is one of the biggest villains in the oral hygiene world. It’s a softy, sticky film that sits on teeth and is full of bacteria counting in the millions. It’s the bacteria in the plaque that causes tooth decay and gum disease if left to sit on teeth. So it’s extremely important to protect children’s teeth from plaque. Learn how below.
Why to keep vigilant against plaque
As if the bacteria in the plaque weren’t enough, the real risk of plaque is that if it’s left to sit, it forms tartar along the gum line. It makes brushing increasingly difficult. This is a thick substance that is hard to brush off.
As the tartar builds up, it can also cause the gums to become red, swell and bleed as you brush your teeth. It’s called gingivitis and is an early stage of periodontal disease. At this stage, it is still easily reversible with good hygiene and a trip to the dentist. But if left untreated, all that bacteria can make the gums and bone supporting the teeth break down, causing tooth loss. Gums may also recede.
Excessive plaque can also lead to bad breath and yellow teeth. So it really makes sense to fight plaque as frequently as you can, in both yourself and your child.
Protect children’s teeth from plaque
There are some easy steps to follow that will help protect children’s teeth from plaque:
- Many children may need to have teeth flossed by an adult. Children can have a hard time with the dexterity required to get in between all the teeth and properly run the floss along the edges of the teeth. Floss after each brushing.
- Replace the toothbrush every three months or when it’s worn out. That means when the bristles are bending to the side too much. An old toothbrush harbors bacteria and won’t effectively remove plaque.
- The common timespan to brush your teeth is for two minutes.
- Brush after breakfast and before bed at a bare minimum.
- Try to reduce how much your child is snacking. Each time they snack, it’s a chance for the food to combine with saliva, which is what forms plaque. Make sure your child brushes after snacking as much as they are able.
- Use a Fluoride toothpaste, which will help the teeth guard against plaque.
- Plan regular trips a local pediatric dentist, about twice per year, or every six months. Regular cleanings at the dentist will take care of the plaque and tartar that home cleanings may have missed, as well as help the dentist spot potential problems early.
- An easy on-the-go shortcut to your hygiene routine might be to swap brushing teeth for simply rinsing your child’s mouth out with water or a mouthwash. Resist the urge. Plaque is sticky and needs flossing and brushing to remove it, so rinsing isn’t doing as much as you think.
By following the tips above, you can help prevent plaque buildup in your child’s mouth, which can lead to hard-to-remove, disease-causing tartar.