You are currently viewing How to Remove Plaque from Teeth

 Medically Reviewed by Dr. Charles Dennis, DMD, on May 2, 2023

Plaque is annoying. It’s sticky. It feels uncomfortable on your teeth. So how do you get rid of it? Here’s how you can remove plaque from your teeth and more information about why it forms in the first place.


how to remove plaque from teethTable of Contents



What is Dental Plaque?

Dental plaque is a sticky mixture of food particles and saliva that builds up on your teeth. This substance will continue to build up if you don’t brush your teeth.


Why do I have plaque on my teeth?

If you don’t brush your teeth properly after meals, you may start to notice plaque buildup. Your mouth needs four things to create plaque:

  1. Bacteria
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Food particles
  4. Saliva

Foods that contain a good amount of sugar will cause plaque to build up faster. Eating things like fruits, candy, bread, cookies, and vegetables can cause plaque. Plaque is formed when food breaks down in your mouth and mixes with the natural bacteria in your mouth.

This, in return, creates an acid. This acid alone can eat away at the enamel, but another chemical reaction occurs when mixed with food particles and saliva. The substance now becomes sticky and a little bit hard. This is plaque.


What does plaque look and feel like?

So, what does plaque look and feel like in your mouth? Well, for one, it’s a sticky substance that by itself is colorless and clear. It may feel “fuzzy” when you press your tongue against it. However, since plaque is sticky, it means food particles will easily stick to your teeth, causing discoloration and white or yellow coloring. It may even stain your teeth and the color of the food you’re eating!


Why Plaque Buildup is Bad For Your Teeth

Plaque, when building up on your teeth, creates a harmful environment. Because plaque holds bacteria, it creates the perfect environment for more bacteria to form, potentially causing cavities, decay, discoloration, gingivitis, and even periodontal disease (gum disease). If plaque isn’t brushed away, it can become tartar, hard yellowish color, within 48 hours. Once plaque becomes tartar, it’s nearly impossible to brush off your teeth without the help of a dental or dental hygienist.


Can you remove plaque from your teeth at home?

Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is the easiest and most effective way to remove plaque at home. Remember to brush your teeth after every meal for added protection to ensure food particles don’t have a chance to mix with the natural bacteria in your mouth.

Don’t try to scape your teeth to remove plaque or tartar, as it will only harm your enamel and create an even more harmful environment, causing cavities and other dental problems.



In conclusion, keeping a healthy dental routine is the easiest and most surefire way to prevent plaque buildup and remove plaque before it becomes tartar. If you notice that plaque is too sticky to get off or is hardening, contact your dentist as soon as possible for a routine cleaning.

Dr. Dennis and the dental hygienists at Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry are experts when it comes to removing plaque and tartar, and we want to help! If you’re in the Scranton or Clarks Summit area and you’re interested in getting cleaning done, contact us today!

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