You may have experienced that slimy, sticky feeling on your teeth when you haven't brushed them for a day or two, perhaps when you've been at a music festival or over a friend's house and have been distracted from your daily brushing routine. This is plaque, a formation of bacteria that builds up on your teeth usually after eight hours, and can cause damage to the enamel because of it's acidity. If it isn't removed, then it can turn into tartar, a hardened yellowy substance that is a lot more difficult to remove and may require a trip to the dentist. However, the good news is that following these simple tips can prevent the buildup of plaque and thus reduce tartar, helping to maintain good oral health, fresh breath and whiter teeth.
1. Go Electric
Dentists encourage the use of both manual and electric toothbrushes, both of which are great for maintaining a high level of oral health. Used twice daily, once upon waking and once before you go to bed for about two minutes, will help to keep plaque at bay and prevent it building up whilst simultaneously killing bacteria that can cause bad breath. However, electric toothbrushes can help to reduce plaque by up to 21 percent more and are considered superior to the manual brush. Companies are constantly developing different types of head that contain various bristles densities and bristle angles, all of which help reach plaque and food debris that would otherwise be missed from regular brushing. Electric and manual brushes are both effective, what is more important is that you take the time to use them regularly.
2. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is nothing new; it's a very old technique that was developed in India and can be used to maintain oral health. Oil pulling involves coconut oil, which is known to have medicinal uses because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. In order to reap the benefits of this superfood, take one tablespoon of oil and swish it around your mouth like mouthwash in order to coat your teeth. Using suction, draw the oil through your teeth to ensure you coat in between the teeth and gums as well. Do this for approximately 10-20 minutes before spitting the oil out.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda has been used around the home for years as a miracle-cleaning product and not surprisingly is a common ingredient in toothpaste. It can be made into a paste with a little coconut oil and brushed on to the teeth to help remove bacteria and stains. The mildly abrasive particles will break down plaque without causing damage to the enamel itself.