Valleau, VanDeven & Massie Dentistry for Children
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Plaque on Teeth and How to Get Rid of It

February 25, 2022
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Posted By: Valleau, VanDeven & Massie Staff
Girl brushing model of teeth at kids dentist in Grand Rapids

Is It Time for Your Child to See a Children’s Dentist in Grand Rapids or Rockford, MI?

Just like adults, children require regular dental care to enjoy optimal oral health. Most dentists agree that twice-yearly dental visits are the best course to get rid of plaque on kid’s teeth, which can cause many oral health complications, including cavities, when it is not cleared away.  

At Valleau, VanDeven & Massie Dentistry for Children, we start seeing children around their first birthday.

These early dental visits help educate you about how to best care for your child’s baby teeth, including removing plaque safely and efficiently from their teeth between dental checkups.

What Is the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?  

Plaque is bacteria that forms a film over teeth. It may have a sticky, yellowish appearance if not cleared away. Fortunately, you can remove this film with regular oral health maintenance.

It is essential to remove plaque daily because it can harden into a substance called tartar, which may be dark in color. Typically, only a dental professional can remove tartar.

Without intervention, plaque and tartar can lead to tooth decay and future oral health conditions for your child, including early gingivitis.

How to Get Rid of Plaque on Teeth

You may think that your child’s baby teeth are not essential and that removing plaque is not so crucial. They’ll get adult teeth later, after all.

The truth is baby teeth play critical roles in your child’s oral health and development. For example, children learn proper speech and communication with their baby teeth. Also, baby teeth play roles in jaw development.

Additionally, baby teeth hold places for adult teeth. Therefore, losing baby teeth too soon can incorrectly dictate the placement of adult teeth.

Because baby teeth are vital, it’s essential to keep them healthy!

To remove plaque from an infant or toddler’s teeth, we suggest using an infant-sized toothbrush to clean the teeth gently. If your child has only one tooth or an emerging tooth, you can clean it with a soft washcloth. It’s best to clean the tooth or teeth once or twice daily.

And to ensure that plaque and tartar do not form during the night, don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle of formula or fruit juice. The acids or sugar can lead to plaque formation and eventually tooth decay.

Experienced Pediatric Dentists in Grand Rapids and Rockford, MI

When you bring your child to our dental office every six months for dental exams and teeth cleanings, the pediatric dentist can provide more personalized toothbrushing and oral cleaning tips for you to incorporate. It may be that you’re missing a specific area in the mouth or that your child has another oral health issue contributing to tooth decay.

Early visits familiarize your child with our family dental office and take the fear out of visiting the dentist. We have found that children enjoy visiting with our team, and the earlier we can get started, the better.

Positive experiences from an early age often lead to healthier smiles and habits for life!

Older Children and Oral HealthBoy smiling at Crestwood Middle School in Grand Rapids MI

For older children, the best way to remove plaque on teeth is to visit the dentist for professional teeth cleanings. Our dental team adds these cleanings to your child’s twice-yearly checkup when age-appropriate.

These gentle treatments remove even the most stubborn plaque and bacteria to give your child a fresh start with their smile!

And if your child presents with multiple cavities or specific oral health concerns, we can discuss dental sealants to keep plaque away from their teeth and fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel.

Besides professional teeth cleanings, our team can teach your child how to best brush and care for their teeth as they transition to independent brushing.

Children’s Tooth Decay Treatment Options

Our dentists offer tooth-colored fillings to treat tooth decay. This is a virtually invisible way of repairing a decayed tooth and restoring it to health without metal or silver.

For Quality Children’s Dentistry in Rockford and Grand Rapids, MI, Contact Us

We invite children of all ages to become part of our dental family, including those with special needs. If you would like more information, or if you’re ready to schedule a checkup with our children's dentist, give us a call today at (616) 455-1301!

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