Plaque Control Tips

Plaque control is the regular removal of microbial plaque and the prevention of its accumulation on and around the teeth and gums. Since microbial plaque is the major etiology of periodontal diseases, motivating patient to practice daily plaque removal is crucial in prevention of oral diseases and long term success of periodontal and any dental treatment. Plaque removal on daily basis combined with frequent professional dental cleaning can lead to complete resolution of gum diseases.


Brushing tips:

  • Daily tooth brushing prevents gingivitis.
  • Twice daily brushing is recommended as it adequately removes microbial plaque which improves the results.
  • The amount of force used to brush is not critical for effective plaque removal. Vigorous brushing is of no use and it can harm your gums. Tooth brushes must be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Soft, nylon bristle brushes should be used as they clean the teeth effectively and do not hurt your gums.
  • Patients like children or who cannot brush properly due to ill health can use powered tooth brushes. They are also equally effective in cleaning and reduce bleeding from gums.
  • Fluoride containing tooth pastes are recommended as they have anti cariogenic and remineralizing properties.
  • Right brushing method:Place the bristles of the brush at 45 degrees angle and start brushing with the last tooth in the arch. Use gentle vibratory pressure in a rolling motion enough to clean the gingival areas and interproximal areas.

Interdental cleaning aids:

Any tooth brush and brushing technique cannot completely remove interdental plaque. Interdental areas are difficult for patients to clean. These areas harbor microbial plaque and develop infection. Common interdental aids used are dental floss and interdental brushes. Dental floss should be held securely in the fingers or tied in a loop. Pass the floss gently through each contact area to clean interdental areas.

Interdental brushes are available in various sizes and shapes like conical or tapered. These are designed to be inserted into a plastic, reusable handles that are angled to facilitate interproximal adaptation.

Mouth washes:

Mouth washes are generally used for bad breath, dry mouth, plaque control etc. Mouth washes containing fluoride has anti decay properties and strengthens enamel. Using therapeutic mouth washes containing chlorhexidine eliminates bad breath and kills bacteria. They also reduce plaque and controls gingivitis. Some mouth washes contain essential oils which effectively act as antimicrobials.

Dentifrices, topical oral rinses and gels:

Plaque control requires daily use of dentifrice containing low concentration of fluoride. Topical oral rinses and gels containing fluoride can also be used for plaque control.

Reinforcement of daily plaque control practices and routine visits to dental office for professional cleaning and checkup are essential for successful microbial plaque control.

Disclosing agents:

A material which when applied on natural teeth makes biofilm visible, focusing on areas that have been missed out during daily toothbrushing.

Disclosing agents work by changing the color of dental biofilm in order to provide a contrast with the tooth surface. Disclosing agents should be compatible in taste and easy to use. They should provide good contrast between tooth surface and biofilm. They should be biocompatible and non-irritating.

Disclosing agents are available in many different forms which helps clinician visualize the dental biofilm. This guides in easy removal of biofilm. This method is faster, efficient and minimally invasive.

Gum stimulator:

The gum stimulatorrubber tip massages the gums and helps to dislodge food particles and dental plaque to clean between the teeth. It is professionally designed to massage and stimulate the gums. It increases the blood circulation and promotes firm and healthy gums.

Patient education and motivation:

Patient education is vital to the practice of prevention. Oral health education and motivation can be shown by giving demonstration to the patient by doing the things, by reviewing or by motivation of patients. Demonstration of proper brushing technique, proper flossing and maintenance of oral hygiene is an integral part of patient education.Successful long term periodontal therapy requires exceptional patient compliance to a periodontal maintenance program.