plaque teeth

How to Naturally Remove Plaque from Teeth

Healthy teeth and gums are important when it comes to our overall health. Tooth plaque is common but if left untreated, can result in serious dental health issues. Dental plaque can be removed and controlled with natural home remedies.

What is Plaque

The definition of plaque is a “microbial biofilm, a community of microorganisms found on a tooth surface.” In short, plaque is a soft and sticky film that builds up on your teeth. If your dentist has told you that you have a problem with teeth plaque, you’re not alone; everyone gets some level of dental plaque.

It’s difficult to detect with the human eye, but it contains millions of bacteria. Plaque on teeth is constantly forming on all teeth, as it the bacteria is naturally found in our saliva. It also forms next to the gums and in between teeth.

If the bacterial plaque isn’t removed on a regular basis, it can become a thick, white or yellowish layer which is more visible.

If plaque continues to buildup on your teeth, then you run the risk of developing an infection or a cavity on your teeth. As you know, an infection may not be easy to spot right away, but if you continue allowing plaque to buildup, then the pain you will feel will alert you that an infection is present. 

How Does Plaque Form

Plaque on teeth forms when food or drink remains on the teeth after eating or drinking. Poor dental hygiene habits, such as improper brushing or failing to floss, cause the plaque to remain on your teeth and along the gum line.

Bacteria, carbohydrates, food particles, and saliva play a part in the formation of plaque. When you eat food with carbohydrates, the carbs react with the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth and forms an acid.

Acid, leftover food and drink particles, and your saliva become sticky and hard, resulting in plaque on your teeth.

How to Tell If I Have Plaque

Since plaque can be difficult to see, you may be wondering how to tell if you have buildup on your teeth. Have you ever run your tongue across your teeth and thought they felt a bit “fuzzy” or spot some white stuff on your teeth? That’s plaque. Remember, everyone has plaque; it’s just a matter of how much.

If left untreated for an extended period of time, then the plaque will be home to bacteria that will cause a foul smell. The result will be bad breath that those around you will be able to pick up on. 

If you want to see how much plaque you have on your teeth? You can head to your local pharmacy and look for disclosing tablets. These chewable tablets are made with a dye and mix with your saliva. The tablets will create a temporary stain on all the areas with plaque.

Another way to see how much plaque is on your teeth and along your gum line is by rinsing with a few drops of food coloring and two ounces of water. Whether you use the tablet or food coloring, once you brush and floss, the stain will disappear.

How to Prevent Plaque Build Up

Plaque removal is the best way to prevent the buildup of plaque on teeth. Advanced plaque buildup is called tartar and tartar removal can be difficult to do on your own, that’s why prevention is crucial. Plaque buildup can be reduced and prevented by good brushing and flossing habits.

If you do have tartar buildup, then your next option would be to visit your dentist. At your dentist's office, a dental hygienist can you help you get rid up all the buildup using special tools. 

Whether or not you suffer from plaque, your dentist will likely recommend that you get a routine cleaning at least twice a year.

Try to floss at least twice a day. Whether you prefer traditional dental floss or individual floss picks, get in the habit of removing food particles from your teeth (especially when you see or feel them). Never force floss in between your teeth, use gentle motions.

If you can, it would be worth your while to invest in a water pick. Essentially, a water pick is like is little power wash for your teeth. With a water pick, water will be forced out of a small tube that you rest against your teeth. The pressure will help to flush out any build up in between your teeth. 

Many dentists strongly encourage the use of a water pick as it can remove plaque a lot more effectively than flossing alone.

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is effective at removing plaque from teeth. Try to brush your teeth for at least two minutes and always use small circular motions. Electric toothbrushes are great options for ensuring a proper brushing techniques.

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush about every three months and use fluoride toothpaste.

Many people assume that carbs are bad; there are healthy and unhealthy carbs. Preventing plaque buildup means avoiding carbohydrates like pastries and candy. Keep in mind that healthy foods like potatoes, cereal, and corn all contain carbs. These are essential to a well-balanced diet, just make sure you follow up with brushing and flossing.

Home Remedies to Naturally Remove Plaque from Teeth

Brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet are great in preventing plaque from building up on your teeth, but you might be looking for ways to remove plaque. While an annual visit to your dentist is effective at removing dental plaque, you may be looking for a natural plaque remover and something you can do at home.

Want to know how to remove tarter and plaque? Here are some home remedies for plaque that are easy to use and some of the ingredients may already be in your kitchen. If you don’t see results from one remedy or don’t like or have the ingredients, try a different remedy. Most of these home remedies are gentle enough to try in addition to another.

While these remedies are gentle and natural, it’s always important to pay attention to how they work. If your mouth becomes more sensitive or you don’t see improvement, try something else.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that has become a popular and modern way to support dental health. It can help to keep your gums healthy and remove bacteria from your mouth. Most people who do oil pulling prefer to use coconut oil for its taste and anti-inflammatory properties, but you can also try olive or sesame oils.

If you’ve never tried oil pulling it’s easy, but it can take a little getting used to as the process can take around 20 minutes. If you find that 20 minutes is too long, start out in smaller increments of time until you become more accustomed to oil pulling.

To oil pull, put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. You don’t need to melt or soften it because your mouth temperature (and swishing) will turn it into liquid. Swish the oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes.

Spit the oil out into the trash. Never spit it out in the bathroom sink or down a drain, as it can clog up a drain once it hardens. Don’t gargle or swallow the oil. Brush your teeth and repeat each day in the morning before eating breakfast.

Baking Soda

If you look in your cabinet, you probably have a box of baking soda. Not only does baking soda have many uses, but it’s also an inexpensive product. Believe it or not, baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) works well as a plaque treatment.

Why does it work? Baking soda neutralizes the acids in your mouth and as a result, reduces the harmful bacteria that causes plaque. There are a few ways to use baking soda as a plaque remover.

Wet your toothbrush and put a dab of baking soda on the bristles. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly with lukewarm water. If you wish to try another method with baking soda, mix one teaspoon of salt with two teaspoons of baking soda. Dip the wet bristles of your toothbrush in the powder and brush your teeth. Rinse as you would with the first remedy.

One more popular home remedy for removing plaque from teeth, which uses baking soda, involves mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Make sure you use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.

Use the paste as you would with toothpaste. You can try any of these remedies once or twice a week; more can cause damage to the enamel on your teeth.

Flossing

As we mentioned earlier, flossing should be part of your daily routine. Some people are good at flossing every day while others think they will get around to doing it but never floss. If you haven’t flossed in a while, it’s never too late to start. Always be gentle and take your time.

Flossing with too much force or too quickly can be painful and may cause injury to your gums, which can lead to a painful infection.

Don’t know if you’re flossing technique is good? Talk to you dentist on your next visit or buy dental floss picks. Want a little flavor with your flossing experience? Buy some flavored floss. Do whatever you must do to make flossing a habit. Once you make it stick, it’s not hard.

Sanguinaria

The flowering plant, also known as bloodroot, is used in a variety of home remedies due to its antimicrobial properties. You may even have it in your toothpaste. Want to know how to get rid of plaque using sanguinaria?

Mix three to four drops of sanguinaria extract with a cup of warm water. Gargle with the water, as you would with a mouthwash. Use this treatment twice a day. You may be able to find sanguinaria extract at your local health store. If not, you can purchase it online.

Regular Brushing

If you do no other home remedy that we’ve shared with you, always make regular teeth brushing part of your daily routine. Teeth brushing is probably one of the first things you learned how to do when it came to personal hygiene.

Even though most of us know the importance of brushing at least twice a day, we may skip a brushing because we fall asleep or simply forget.

Brushing is essential to dental health and get rid of plaque on your teeth. As noted earlier, brush for about two minutes in small, soft circular motions. Don’t forget to pay attention to the gumline. As for the type of brush to use, check with your dentist or hygienist.

Not all toothbrushes are made alike, but there are some that work better than others. Often times, electric toothbrushes can offer your teeth more power and clean than manual toothbrushes will. 

Regardless of whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electronic one, you want to be sure to change your toothbrush out regularly. If you do not swap out your toothbrush head for a new one, then you run the risk of bacteria buildup that will eventually transfer onto your teeth.

Always use gentle pressure when brushing. If your toothbrush bristles end up looking flattened and frayed, you may be brushing too hard and causing damage to your mouth.

Guava

Guava is a delicious tropical fruit that can most likely be found at your local market. The fruit and the leaves have anti-plaque, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. You can wash some guava leaves, chew on them, and then spit them out. You can do this daily. You may find the leaves in your market or online.

You make also take a piece of unripe guava, sprinkle a bit of sea salt on it and chew it slowly, doing this one to two times a day for a few days. Spit out the contents after you have thoroughly chewed them.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an ingredient used in many popular and effective home remedies so it’s no surprise that it can be used to remove plaque. Since aloe vera is antimicrobial, it helps to kill the bacteria responsible for plaque buildup.

Have an aloe plant sitting in the window and soaking up the sun? Don’t have a plant? Now is a good time as any to head to your local greenhouse and buy one.

Cut an aloe leaf off the plant, slit it open and extract the pulp. Rub a liberal amount of the pulp directly onto your teeth and gums. Let the aloe sit on your teeth for about ten minutes and rinse it off with cold water. You can try this remedy twice a day.

Spicy Food

Love spicy food? As if you needed another reason to enjoy your favorite “hot” dish. When you eat spicy food, such as salsa or curries, your salivary glands secrete more saliva. Excess saliva helps to keep your mouth cleaner and will keep food and bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

Lemon

Want to know how to remove plaque from teeth using lemon? Brush your teeth with the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. Wait, isn’t acid bad for your teeth and can create more plaque? Yes, but lemon juice has antimicrobial properties that can help remove bacteria (and plaque).

After you brush your teeth, rinse your brush well and dip it into one teaspoon of lemon juice. Brush your teeth and gums, let the juice sit for a few minutes, and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.

You can try this treatment every other day as you get started. Eventually, after your teeth look and feel cleaner, you can follow up once every ten days or so.

Cloves

Maybe you have used cloves in the past for a toothache. Cloves do a good job at removing plaque, too. You can mix one teaspoon of powdered cloves with a little olive oil. Apply the mixture on your teeth, wait a few minutes, and then rinse with lukewarm water. Try this treatment twice a day.

Chewing on a few cloves, on a regular basis, can help remove plaque and keep your mouth feeling fresh. Either treatment works, it’s more about personal preference.

White Vinegar

White vinegar has multiple uses, and it’s the acetic acid that helps to prevent and reduce a buildup of plaque on your teeth. It also reduces bacteria, thanks to its antibacterial properties.

To use white vinegar as a treatment for plaque, mix two teaspoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of salt in a half of a cup of warm water. Use solution as a mouthwash once or twice a day.

Dental Scraping Devices

When you go to the dentist, the hygienist uses a dental pick and a mirror to scrape plaque off of your teeth. A dental plaque removal tool is an easy way to remove plaque buildup on your own but always use with care.

Too much force or moving too quickly can cause an injury or infection. Scrape away any visible plaque (tartar), spit it out, and rinse your mouth well. Using a dental scraping device should not substitute an annual visit to your dentist.

A tongue scraper is another great dental device that helps to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

Fruits and Veggies

Not only are fruits and vegetables important in maintaining a well-balanced diet but they are helpful in the removal of plaque. Eating a crunchy food like an apple or a few carrot sticks about an hour after a meal will help clean your teeth naturally and prevent plaque from sticking.

Chewing Sesame Seeds

Want to know how to remove plaque with sesame seeds? Chew them up (but don’t swallow). Chewing on one tablespoon of sesame seeds and then brushing your teeth with a dry toothbrush (seeds still in mouth) acts as an exfoliant of sorts.

Spit out the seeds, rinse your mouth and your brush well. Floss out any seeds that get stuck in between your teeth.

Figs

Eating a fig (not the infamous fig cookie) can help increase saliva production just like spicy food. After a meal, eat two to three figs and chew slowly. Enjoy that delicious fig.

Orange Peels

Even though oranges are a citrus fruit, the limonene in orange peels helps to break down plaque with damaging the enamel on your teeth. They can also help fight any microorganisms in your mouth.

Take a piece of fresh orange peel and rub the inside portion (the white part) of the peel onto your teeth and gums before you go to bed. Leave it on overnight and rinse it off well before you brush your teeth.

You can also use dried orange peel powder and make it into a paste and apply to your teeth. You can try either method up to three times a week.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary is a disinfectant and can help to prevent plaque buildup and get rid of bacteria. If you don’t have rosemary essential oil, you can also use sage or thyme essential oils.

Mix two to three drops of oil in with one tablespoon of water or a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil. Swish the solution around in your mouth for about ten minutes (kind of like a mini oil pulling session).

Spit it out in the trash, brush your teeth, and repeat twice a day. Never swallow or gargle the oil solution.

Black Tea

You might think that black tea does more harm to your teeth than good but rinsing with black tea can help control the bacteria in your mouth. The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in black tea help to reduce plaque formation and it also provides fluoride, which is a protectant.

Prepare a cup of black tea as you normally would and let the bag steep for about five minutes. Squeeze the tea bag, remove it, and allow the tea to cool. Use the tea as a mouth rinse and repeat once a day as a preventative against plaque buildup.

Cheese

Good news for cheese lovers, cheese can help remove plaque from your teeth. When you eat cheese, it helps to produce alkaline saliva, which neutralizes plaque acid. It also forms a protective layer around your teeth (but don’t forget to brush your teeth).

Much like fruits and veggies, eating a small amount of hard cheese after your meals can help in the prevention of plaque buildup. Another plus is that the calcium and phosphates in cheese can help re-mineralize your teeth.

The Consequences of Plaque Build-Up

Now that you have some plaque removal home remedies to try out, it’s time to talk about issues related to plaque buildup. It’s important to reiterate that plaque removal home remedies should never replace a visit to your dentist. The remedies we shared with you are intended to optimize your oral health, but cannot fix major dental problems.

You may already know that oral health has a close relationship to your physical health.

Some research suggests that bacteria in your mouth can be directly linked to other health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. In general, poor oral health can affect your overall health.

Too much plaque and poor brushing and flossing habits can lead to tooth decay (cavities). While cavities can be filled, it’s harder to correct gum disease once it’s started.

Excess plaque and failing to remove it can lead to gum disease. Initially, you may have gingivitis, which makes your gums tender and swollen (sometimes they bleed). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to severe gum disease.

In this case, gum tissue pulls away from your teeth and allows the bacteria to destroy the bone that supports your teeth. Tooth loss is a common occurrence. Adopting good oral habits, even later in life, is much easier and cheaper than having to pay for dentures or expensive oral surgery.

Gregory Melhorn

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