What is dental plaque?

Dental plaque is the buildup with the slimy feeling that is ever present on your teeth. It is a living thriving bacterial habitat. More than 800 different types of bacteria are present in plaque. Most are harmless. Some, especially an organism called streptococcus mutans, cause tooth decay by producing acid from dietary sugars which dissolve tooth enamel. Others, are responsible for gingivitis (mild, reversible gum disease) and periodontitis (severe, irreversible gum disease).



  • Bad breath that won’t go away.
  • Red or swollen gums.
  • Tender or bleeding gums.
  • Painful chewing.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Sensitive teeth.
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth.

Common causes & prevention

To prevent plaque, simply:

  • Brush thoroughly at least twice a day to remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line, where your toothbrush may not reach.
  • Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks.
  • Schedule regular dental visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations.


  • To prevent plaque buildup, brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft, rounded-tip bristled toothbrush. Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss between teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria.
  • Use an antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease.
  • See your dentist or oral hygienist every 6 months for a check-up and teeth cleaning.
  • Ask your dentist if a dental sealant is appropriate for you. Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to protect them from cavities and decay.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of between-meal snacks. If you need a snack, choose nutritious foods such as plain yogurt, cheese, fruit, or raw vegetables. Vegetables, such as celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralize plaque-causing acids.


If you are concerned about plaque buildup, get an online dental consult with a Toothpic online dentist. Answer a few questions and share images of your teeth and you’ll get a detailed report on any issues, home care recommendation and next steps you may need.

Connect to an online dentist now in 3 easy steps

STEP 1: Brief assessment

Answer a few questions on your oral health

STEP 2: Show the online dentist

Share images of your teeth and mouth

STEP 3: Complete Consult

Begin your journey to a happier, healthier you!

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