What Is Dental Plaque?

Plaque is a colorless film of bacteria that often forms on the teeth of an individual who does not follow the oral hygiene practices that are recommended by dental professionals such as regular brushing and flossing. The plaque often forms on the surface of the teeth (enamel) but when left to develop for long periods of time, it can form under the gums. For more preventive tips, visit

How Do I Know If I Have a Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky substance by nature. There are two main ways that you can check if you have a dental plaque on your teeth.

  • If you rub your tongue on the surface of your teeth and feel a leathery or fuzzy substance on the surface, it means that you have plaque
  • Alternatively, plaque can also be observed visually especially on the teeth of an individual who has not brushed their teeth for long. 

What Are The Main Causes Of Dental Plaque?

It is first worth mentioning that the mouth contains a healthy amount of bacteria that play the role of balancing the pH. However, for these bacteria to work effectively, an individual must ensure that they rigorously follow oral hygiene measures suggested by dental professionals.

Plaque tends to form when a person eats foods that are rich in starch and then fails to carry out oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing. When excessive starch particles are left on the teeth, bacteria in the mouth usually feed on the starch and in the process, they usually produce acids which accumulate on the surface of enamel or under gums as plaque.

Common Foods That Can Lead To Formation Of Plaque

Some of the foods that are rich in starch and sugars that can lead to the formation of plaque include:

  • Candy
  • Milk
  • Baked items such as cakes and bread
  • Juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Raisins

Generally speaking, if you consume foods that have a high level of carbohydrates and fail to take the appropriate oral hygiene measures, there is a high probability that you will get a dental plaque.

Top Ways To Avoid Getting Dental Plaque

To effectively get rid of plaque or to prevent a buildup, you should:

  1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

When brushing ensure that you use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Since food particles tend to hide in the crevices between teeth, pay special attention to these areas. Additionally, use mouthwash frequently to help neutralize the acids that cause the formation of plaque.

  1. Floss After Every Meal

Flossing your teeth using dental floss will help get rid of food particles lodged between your teeth. This will in turn help curb the formation of plaque.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

When possible, avoid foods that are rich in carbohydrates and instead focus on consuming nutritious items such as vegetables, cheese, plain yogurt or fruits. You can also consume foods that are rich in fiber. Fiber foods help neutralize the acids in the mouth and help get rid of plaque on your teeth.

  1. Visit a Dentist Regularly

It is recommended that you visit a skilled dentist at least twice annually. During your dental check-up, your dentist will examine your teeth for plaque and then carry out a deep cleansing of your entire mouth to ensure that you have great oral hygiene. Further, during your appointment, you will also receive advice on how you can avoid plaque formation and other dental issues.


Plaque is a major cause of tooth decay as well as a host of other dental issues such as bad breath and gum disease. It can also lower your confidence if it causes you to have bad teeth. You should therefore take all the measures possible to avoid its formation. If you are looking to avoid plaque formation, follow the prevention tips discussed in the article below.