Plaque Removal:  A Dental Concern


What Everyone should know about plaque, and how to remove it.


There is a matter we all have in common, a matter which requires attention:  It's called plaque.  It forms in your mouth, every day, 24 hours a day.  Left unattended, plaque can lead to a number of oral problems-so it's important to know about plaque and how to remove it properly.  The more you know about plaque, the better you'll be able to take some of the proper steps to prevent problems and maintain good oral hygiene.  That's what this article is about.  So don't wait.  Read it.  Get smart about plaque.  And learn how to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.


According to the ADA, what's the major dental problem of today?  Cavities?  Tartar?


No, it's plaque; if left unchecked, the build up of plaque can often lead to other dental problems such as tartar.  The American Dental Association estimates that oral hygiene problem that may be caused by plaque may affect three our of four adults in the United States at some point in their lives.


What is plaque and why is it a problem?


Plaque is a complex biological soil that can lead to dental problems like tartar, gum trouble and tooth decay.  It's a soft, sticky bacterial coating that is constantly forming on your teeth-every day.  When plaque comes into contact with the sugars and starches in the foods you eat, it produces acids that can cause cavities.  Furthermore, plaque can lead to the formation of tartar and gum trouble.


What is tartar?


If plaque is not removed, it can calcify -or harden- into a substance known as tartar.  Once plaque becomes tartar, it can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist.  As tartar forms, it interferes with thorough plaque removal and can contribute to the development of gingivitis.


What is gingivitis?


Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that can often be caused by bacteria in plaque.  The following may be symptoms of gingivitis*:  red gums, swollen gums, or bleeding gums.  It's important to note that it is not normal for your gums to bleed after brushing and flossing.  This can be an early sign of gingivitis.  Gingivitis can be painless, but if left untreated it can sometimes progress into periodontal disease.

*Consult you dentist immediately if you develop or have any of these symptoms.


What is periodontal disease?


Periodontal disease (periodontitis) is a disease of the bone and other structures which support the teeth.  Receding gums, puffy or red gums, bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth and widening spaces in between teeth are some of the warning signs of periodontal disease.  Only your dental professional can tell if you have it for sure.  You should see you dentist for regular checkups and examinations.  The earlier it's detected, the less damage periodontal disease can do.


How is periodontal disease different from tooth decay?


Tooth decay is the progressive wearing away of the enamel, or the outer covering of the teeth.  It can actually create holes in the teeth (cavities) which can be painful and require immediate treatment to prevent additional problems.  Unlike tooth decay, periodontitis begins in the gums, spreads to the bones, is often painless and may lead to tooth loss.  However, they both are often related to plaque build up.


I brush and floss regularly.  Should I be concerned about plaque?


Plaque should always be a concern.  Even brushing and flossing regularly can't prevent plaque from forming.  Through personal commitment to your own dental health, however, you can help prevent plaque from building up and causing problems that may result in harm to your teeth and gums.


What can I do to avoid problems caused by plaque?


The best way to avoid problems often associated with plaque is by making regular visits to your dentist.  See you dentist at least once every 6 months for a complete checkup and a thorough cleaning.  He or she will check for early signs of gingivitis and help you take the proper steps to correct or avoid problems.  Your dentist will also remind you of the importance of regularly removing plaque at home through a conscientious oral hygiene regimen.


What's the best way to remove plaque at home?


Toothbrushing is the most effective way to remove plaque at home.  It is recommended that you brush your teeth after every meal, and especially before you go to bed at night.  Importantly, dentist suggest you replace your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months -using an old or worn toothbrush is less effective.  It is also recommended that you use dental floss to remove additional plaque below the gum line and between teeth areas where a brush cannot reach.  Furthermore, many dentists recommend that  you use a pleasant-tasting pre-brushing rinse to loosen and detach plaque for easier removal during brushing.


How does the pre-brushing rinse work?


The pre-brushing rinse works with toothbrushing to help you remove more plaque than brushing alone.  Designed to be used before brushing and flossing, it helps make plaque removal more effective.  When you rinse first with a pre-brushing rinse, it removes some plaque and loosens the remaining plaque to help make brushing more effective.  Because it's a rinse, it can reach just about everywhere in your mouth -even places it's hard to brush.


How is the pre-brushing rinse different from conventional mouthwashes?


The pre-brushing rinse works like a detergent to physically loosen and help remove plaque -helping make brushing more effective.  Mouthwashes used after brushing inhibit plaque formation by killing germs that cause plaque, but they aren't designed to remove plaque.  The pre-brushing rinse is pleasant tasting and enjoyable to use.


How do I use the pre-brushing rinse?


For best results, use it before each brushing as the first part of a rinse-brush-floss regimen:  Rinse with it for 30 seconds before brushing to loosen and remove plaque.  Then brush thoroughly and carefully, making sure you remove plaque from all tooth surfaces.  Finally, use floss to remove plaque from between teeth and below your gum line.




Many dental professionals recommend the rinse-brush-floss regimen to effectively remove plaque and prevent damage caused by plaque and prevent damage caused by plaque.  It's a great way to maintain a healthy-feeling mouth and a lifetime of proper oral hygiene.


And a great way to approach two important part of the rinse-brush-floss regimen is with Plax(R) -the anti-plaque, pre-brushing dental rinse clinically proven to remove more plaque than brushing alone-and with the new Plax Toothbrush(R) that's specially designed for easy plaque removal


This article was made possible through Consumer Health Care Division of Pfizer Inc, maker of Plax anti-plaque, pre-brushing dental rinse and the new Plax Toothbrush.  Form more information, please call 1-800-723-7529.