While they may not be something you think about every day, your teeth should be important to you. Not brushing your teeth well or regularly can lead to gross plaque buildup, bad breath, and even dangerous gum diseases.
So why is plaque such a big deal?
Everyone talks about plaque and how dealing with it is such a major component of proper dental health, but what’s the big issue? Plaque is horrible. It is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth over time due to the millions of microscopic bacteria that call your mouth home. If you don’t spend the proper time looking after your mouth, too much of this plaque can lead to gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay.
Even worse, if you don’t deal with plaque buildup in a timely fashion, it will turn into tartar. Tartar is a harder relative of plaque that is more difficult to remove and can cause your gums to bleed and become infected.
How To Spot Plaque & Tartar At Home
At home, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly where all that plaque that your dentist keeps berating you about is hiding. All you have to do is mix a few drops of food coloring in a glass of water, swish it around in your mouth for a moment and rinse with clear water.
The coloring will stick to the plaque and tartar buildup. Once you know where the problem areas are, you can address them and refocus your brushing on those spots; the color will disappear as you remove the plaque that it’s sticking to. Take the precaution of dabbing a little bit of lip balm around your lips to keep the food coloring from staining.
13 Home Remedies To Remove Plaque & Tartar
While not strictly a remedy, regular flossing can be incredibly effective in removing the tartar buildup on your teeth. Plus it helps reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease while promoting a healthier mouth. Your dentist tells you to floss for a reason!
2. Oil Pulling
This simple process can help remove plaque buildup and prevent more from forming. All you need is an oil, extra-virgin coconut oil will work well, as it contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that cut down on mouth bacteria. Swish 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure not to gargle or swallow it. Spit it out. Rinse out your mouth and brush teeth as normal. It is best for this to be a regular process that is part of your morning routine, before eating anything. You can even oil pull while you’re in the shower or making your coffee. Repeat daily for best results.
To learn more about oil pulling, how to do it and why you definitely should, read our complete guide here.
3. Baking Soda
When it comes to natural at-home plaque removal, baking soda is the age old tool that won’t break the bank. Dip your wet toothbrush in some baking soda and brush, as simple as that! This seemingly simple trick is extremely efficient, removing plaque and hard tartar. For more abrasive cleaning power, you can mix in a pinch of salt and brush away.
Scrub your teeth and spit out the baking soda, continue this process for about five minutes. Follow with a capful of hydrogen peroxide diluted with warm water to rinse out your mouth. Be sure to rinse with plain water as well. Do this process once a week or as needed to cut down on plaque buildup.
4. Strawberries and Tomatoes
Who knew that rubbing fruit on your teeth could help clean them? Strawberries and tomatoes, along with berries, oranges, and bell peppers, lemons and limes all contain loads of Vitamin C, a nutrient that is essential to promoting good oral health. All you have to do is rub one of these fruits on your teeth and let it sit for about five minutes before rinsing with baking soda dissolved in warm water. Your precious chompers will be left looking white and feeling squeaky clean.
Hard cheese like Swiss or cheddar helps your body produce alkaline saliva, an important component that fights back against plaque bacteria. It even creates a protective layer around your teeth to prevent acid build up and can remineralize teeth with calcium and phosphates.
Guava fruit and leaves work wonders for the prevention of that pesky bacteria that likes to hold fast to your teeth and gums. These anti-plaque agents help remove plaque that has already settled in along with containing anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties; this fruit is a no-brainer for mouth health. One way to get the benefits of this amazing guava is to wash a couple of tender guava leaves, chew them to a pulp and spit them out, rinse your mouth well. Making this simple task a daily habit will greatly the reduce the risk of tartar formation and plaque buildup.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is on par with mouthwash when it comes to banishing bad breath and getting rid of plaque. It is also antimicrobial which means that is an effective method for killing harmful bacteria in your mouth before it causes a problem. Slit open an aloe vera leaf and extract the pulp. If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, you can purchase Aloe vera gel at most health food stores or even from this page on Amazon. Apply the paste directly to your teeth and gum line, being sure to rub it in well. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse your mouth with cold water, brush regularly. Repeat twice daily for best results.
You’ve probably heard of using cloves to fight tooth pain, but did you know that they can also be included in a natural paste to fight dental plaque? Simply mix 1 teaspoon of powdered cloves with just enough olive oil to make a paste. Leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse with warm water. If used twice daily, this paste can help fight gingivitis, tartar buildup, and microbes that cause bad breath. If you don’t mind the taste, you can even try chewing on a few whole cloves each day to keep your mouth healthy and fresh.
9. White Vinegar
White vinegar is one of those all-around useful items that most of us keep in our pantry. Not only does this vinegar get rid of plaque, it even helps prevent the demineralization of enamel on your teeth. Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sea salt in ¼ cup of warm to hot water. This mixture can function as a natural mouthwash that will help whiten your teeth and promote oral health.
10. Orange Peels
As strange as it may sound, rubbing the inside of fresh orange peels directly on your teeth right before bed can help improve the quality of your brilliant smile. Rinse your mouth out with fresh water in the morning. This process will also contribute to keeping your mouth feeling fresh and plaque free while removing old stains from your pearly whites. Plus, as a bonus, oranges taste great, and this simple remedy will take little time.
11. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil contains amazing antibacterial properties that can take care of all your oral health needs. It functions as a disinfectant, killing all the horrible bacteria that generates plaque, bad breath, cavities and other mouth diseases, as well as eradicating plaque that already exists. Simply mix two drops of rosemary into a teaspoon of carrier oil (i.e. coconut oil) and swish in mouth for about 10 minutes. Spit into sink and brush as regular, repeat twice every day for the most benefit.
12. Black Tea
Not only does it taste amazing, but pure black tea can also help in the fight against plaque and bacteria. It contains numerous antioxidant properties and promotes healthy tooth enamel while protecting your teeth from decay. Simply brew a cup of black tea, allowing it to steep until the tea is a rich dark color, squeeze the tea bag before removing to receive all the antibacterial qualities. Once the tea has cooled, simply rinse out your mouth and repeat daily.
13. Proper brushing technique
Brushing your teeth should take a full two minutes. Spend the time to focus on what you’re doing. Use short, gentle strokes (no vigorous scrubbing), paying close attention to the gumline, back teeth and other hard to reach areas. Brush your tongue as well for fresher breath throughout the day. Replace your toothbrush after three months of use or whenever it starts to show wear.
Along with all these methods for removing plaque and tartar buildup at home, be sure to schedule regular cleanings with a dental professional, as well as keeping up with regular brushing and a healthy diet. Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush to keep a handle on the plaque, as well as implementing some of these home remedies in your daily routine.