How to Remove Hardened Plaque Between Teeth

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Removing plaque from teeth is essential for healthy gums.
Removing plaque from teeth is essential for healthy gums. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The average adult mouth is normally teeming with bacteria. When this bacteria combines with mucus and food particles, plaque often begins to form on your teeth and along the gumline. Daily brushing helps prevent plaque from forming, and daily flossing keeps it from settling in and hardening between the teeth. If plaque is not removed from the teeth, it can harden and turn into tartar, which could lead to gum disease. When this happens, you will need a professional cleaning from your dentist or dental hygienist.

Pull out and break off approximately 18 inches of floss. Wrap the floss around both index fingers until taut.

Hold the floss tightly with your thumbs and index fingers, then run it between your teeth using a gentle massaging motion.

Curve the floss into a "C" shape once you reach the gumline, and glide it into the space between your gumline and tooth. Gently rub the side of your tooth in an up-and-down motion.

Repeat this process for the rest of your teeth, making sure to thoroughly clean all sides of your teeth.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a regular cleaning. Your dentist or dental hygienist will thoroughly examine your teeth and clean off plaque and tartar using special tools. They can also provide tips to prevent plaque from hardening in the future.

Tips & Warnings

  • Daily brushing helps remove plaque before it starts to harden.

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