You have it, we all have it, and it’s gross. Plaque.
It’s that gritty, sometimes sticky feeling film that builds up on your teeth. You may not be able to see it, but if you run your tongue across your teeth, you’ll feel it and know it’s there.
Plaque, also known as tartar when it calcifies or hardens, contains millions of bacteria.
It feeds off the sugars in the food you eat, producing acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. Ugh. If you don’t take measures to remove it regularly it will cause cavities, (holes in your enamel) and gingivitis, (swollen and inflamed gums) which is an early stage of gum disease.
Obviously, neither is desirable, nor is plaque!
You can’t visit the dentist for a professional teeth cleaning everyday (though you may want to after reading this), but there are some things you can do at home to fight plaque. Keep reading for the top ten ways to remove plaque from your teeth at home.
1. Oil Pulling
The virtues of coconut oil are being extolled all over the place these days and not surprisingly studies have found it’s quite useful for preventing plaque formation. An ancient practice, oil pulling practitioners have used sunflower, sesame and coconut oils. However, coconut oil has benefits that the other oils do not. It contains high levels of lauric acid which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Happily, most people who practice oil pulling do not find it unpleasant.
You can buy coconut oil at most supermarkets. Try to find organic coconut oil if possible. Coconut oil is solid when kept cool, but will start to liquefy right around 70-80 degrees farenheit. Place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and allow it to liquefy, if it hasn’t already. Then swish it all around, literally “pulling” it through and between your teeth. Now, the only annoying thing about oil pulling is that it should be practiced for 10 to 20 minutes. Yes, that sounds like a long time, but it’s what’s required for best results. One way to find for oil pulling is to do it while you shower, or if you style your hair, while drying your hair. After your 10 to 20 minutes are up spit out the oil. Be careful not to swallow it, as it will contain all that nasty bacteria that was in your mouth. Proceed with flossing and brushing your teeth as usual. For best results practice oil pulling once daily, first thing in the morning, or right before bed.
2. Baking Soda
This marvelous home remedy which has 1001 uses is also great for removing dental plaque! It also goes by the name sodium bicarbonate. It’s great for neutralizing acids in your mouth, and this leads to less harmful bacteria in there. In addition to this, it even helps naturally whiten your teeth. Talk about a great bonus!
In addition to this, it even helps naturally whiten your teeth. Talk about a great bonus!
The Journal of Clinical Dentistry had published a study in 2008 where they had analyzed 5 separate clinical studies. Its conclusion was that baking soda powder or paste is most efficient at removing plaque than any other product that doesn’t contain this ingredient. Here are a few ways you can use it for optimal effects:
Here are a few ways you can use it for optimal effects:
– Dab the bristles of your toothbrush with a small amount of baking soda and continue by brushing your teeth. Afterward, give your mouth a good rinsing using lukewarm water
– You can also try mixing 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of salt. Then just dip a damp toothbrush into this mixture and brush gently for a while before rinsing
– And yet a third option is to mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a sufficient amount of hydrogen peroxide to obtain a paste. Once again, brush your teeth and proceed by rinsing
You can use any of these options one or two times per week.
Word of caution: remember the ‘too much of a good thing’ rule and don’t overuse baking soda as doing so can actually have an adverse effect on your tooth enamel!
Both guava fruit and leaves are considered excellent antiplaque agents to help remove plaque accumulated on the teeth and gums. Plus, they have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help reduce swelling and pain in the gums.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences showed that guava leaf extract causes a reduction in the adhesion of early plaque. It has excellent antibacterial and biofilm-inhibition activity against Streptococcus mutans that cause dental plaque.
– Wash some tender guava leaves and chew them thoroughly, then spit them out. Do this daily to reduce the risk of plaque formation on the teeth.
– Take a piece of unripe guava, sprinkle salt on it and chew it slowly. Do this 1 to 2 times daily for a few days.
– You can also use a mouth rinse containing guava leaf extract.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is effective at dealing with gum disease caused by plaque and tartar. Being an antimicrobial, it kills the bacteria that cause plaque buildup. Plus, it fights bad breath.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Oral Health and Dental Management found that aloe vera demonstrates a similar effect on plaque and gingivitis compared with the benchmark control chlorhexidine mouthwash.
– Slit an aloe vera leaf and extract the pulp.
– Rub the pulp directly on your teeth and gum line.
– Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water.
– Use this remedy twice daily.
Ground cloves have been widely used for ages as a home remedy to relieve toothaches. It can also be used to fight microbes in your mouth that may cause plaque and tartar.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology notes that an herbal mouth rinse containing clove, tea tree oil and basil reduced the microbial colony forming units, making it an effective antiplaque and antigingivitis agent.
– Mix 1 teaspoon of powdered cloves and a little olive oil. Apply this mixture on your teeth. Wait a few minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this twice a day.
– Also, chew 1 or 2 cloves on a regular basis to support oral health and reduce bad breath caused by the bacteria in your mouth.
6. White Vinegar
This is not a pleasant method for removing plaque, but it is natural and guaranteed not to harm teeth. It will taste pretty unpleasant, but it is effective. Take a solution consisting of two tablespoons of vinegar, one tablespoon of salt, and four ounces of water. Now, gargle with this vinegar solution. Rinse and repeat every 2-3 days for maximum value.
7. Orange Peels
Sounds too simple but they are great for removing any stains from your teeth. In other words, they are a natural teeth whitener.
But other than this, the limonene which orange peels contain helps to break down the plaque on your teeth, and most importantly, without eroding your tooth’s enamel!
Also, their rich vitamin C content hinders the microorganism growth in your mouth.
Here’s the best way to use these peels:
1. Rub the inside part of the orange peel directly on your gums and teeth. This is best done before going to bed.
2. Let it stay overnight and rinse the morning after
3. Repeat as many times as you deem fit for keeping your teeth white and clean
Of you don’t have any fresh orange peels at hand, you can always opt for dried orange powder. It gets the job done either way.
8. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil works like a disinfectant to eradicate oral bacteria. It can prevent plaque buildup, cavities and help get rid of bad breath.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology suggests that the plant extracts from rosemary inhibited the growth of oral bacteria, glucosyltransferase activity, glucan production and plaque formation.
1. Mix 2 or 3 drops of rosemary essential oil in 1 tablespoon of water or carrier oil.
2. Swish the mixture through your teeth for about 10 minutes.
3. Spit it out and brush your teeth as usual. Do not swallow or gargle with it.
4. Repeat twice daily.
If you don’t have rosemary essential oil, you can use sage or thyme essential oil.
9. Black Tea
If you choose to rinse with black tea, it can naturally reduce and control any bad bacteria gathered in your oral cavity. This, of course, also reduces your risk of developing plaque. This is all thanks to its natural antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
On top of all that, it is an excellent source of fluoride.
Because it’s useful for encouraging better tooth enamel quality, thus successfully preventing tooth decay. It also hinders the bad bacteria in their mission of producing acid which is the cause of the tooth decay in the first place.
The Journal of Dentistry of Tehran University of Medical Sciences had published a study back in 2011. In it, they concur that Iranian black tea and green tea are rich in fluoride and possess powerful antibacterial properties.
Here’s the best way to go about it:
1. Place a black tea bag in a mug or cup of hot water and leave it there for no more than 5 minutes.
2. Before removing the tea bag, give it a good squeeze into the mug/cup in order to release as much fluoride as you can.
3. Allow this tea to cool down a bit, and then rinse your mouth and teeth with it.
4. Once a day is enough to prevent any plaque from accumulating
Cheese helps in the production of alkaline saliva that helps neutralize plaque acid. It helps create a protective layer around your teeth that keeps plaque bacteria’s acid at bay. Plus, it contains calcium and phosphates that help remineralize your teeth.
A 2012 study published in The Journal of European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry notes that cheese without any added sugar (sucrose) may prevent dental caries by increasing calcium and phosphorus concentration in dental plaque
Eat a small amount of hard cheese after your meals to prevent plaque formation.
– Eat spicy foods to stimulate your salivary glands. Saliva helps clean your teeth and gums, thus fighting gum disease and dental decay.
– Chew a raw apple an hour after eating food. It will clean your teeth and help heal the gums.
– Eating figs can also strengthen your teeth and stimulate saliva flow. Make sure you chew them thoroughly.
– Limit your consumption of processed foods that contain sugar and starch. Oral bacteria thrive on sugary foods.
– Use margosa twigs as a toothbrush to brush your teeth.
– Get your teeth and gums professionally cleaned at least once a year.