Dentist Questions Plaque, Dental

What can I eat or avoid eating to reduce plaque?

During every routine dental exam, there's a good amount of plaque on my teeth. I brush twice a day, floss once a day, and use fluoride rinse at night. I think I'm doing all the right things, so is there anything I should incorporate or leave out of my diet? I try to avoid sugar whenever possible.

49 Answers

You seem to be doing all of the right things. One additional thing is to avoid excessive snacking, especially with foods that are high in refined carbohydrates.
Make sure you are brushing and flossing immediately after your meals. Plaque buildup mixed with saliva causes a hard substance (called calculus) to stick to the teeth. If plaque is not removed from the teeth in a timely manner, this is what happens. To fix this problem, it sounds like it's not as much about what you eat, but the timing of you brushing and flossing your
Stop eating
some patients develop dental plaque in large quantities. Eating fibrous foods (apples, carrots etc) will help keep plaque accumulation down. Try an oral irrigator, such as a WaterPik. I feel it as efficient or maybe better than dental floss in reducing plaque, since most people do not use dental floss properly.
Sounds like you are doing everything right!! Plaque forms instantly and is present in everyone. The key is to control it by brushing twice and flossing. There is no real panacea to preventing plaque from occurring. Drinking water and keeping your mouth moist with salivary flow is also beneficial. Sometimes sharp edges or grooves will collect plaque quicker. Make sure your teeth are smooth. If you have fillings or other restorative work have your dentist check them for any ridges, or rough areas.
Sounds like you are on the right track but need a little more. The two food types that produce the most harmful plaque that cause decay and gum disease are sugars and partially hydrolyzed starches (breads, crackers, pretzels, chips, grain based foods). After you eat any of these items you will need to clean your teeth to remove the plaque formed. A good ultrasonic tooth brush and stimudents will also help. For treatment of this problem or tho meet your other dental needs, call the dental office of Dr. Brad Emery, Dr. Nicholas Emery and Dr. Carol Scuro, at 585-247-7110. Or check out our website at
Hello there,

It looks like you have established a good home-care routine. Unfortunately, our diets don't play a role in our plaque production. You can try using an electric toothbrush, Sonicare or Oral-B would be good choices. Your dental hygienist can also go over your home-care with you to ensure you are brushing and flossing properly. Thanks for your question!

Keep up your hygiene regimen! Avoiding sugary, sticky foods is very important, as you know. High fiber fruits and vegetables are the best snacks. Your hygienist should be able to give you tips on how to clean the areas that seem to accumulate the most debris, plaque, and calculus. Once calculus, or tartar, forms it can only be removed professionally.
A. You can drink sugar free green tea, cranberry juice and cheese on a regular basis to reduce your dental plaque buildup. You can reduce your intake of carbohydrates and sweet things as well. The only way to effectively reduce dental plaque buildup is to brush at least two times a day (make sure you are using a fluoridated tooth paste or gel) and floss daily. I advise you speak with your dentist or hygienist regarding your oral hygiene routines and they should help you find a solution. You may need to incorporate some different things and switch to an electric tooth brush. Different medications can also cause more dental plaque buildup.
Preventing plaque by avoiding particular foods is not an ordinary strategy that I offer to my patients. I general there is a large part of the population that tends to accumulate plaque on a more frequent basis. For those people in our office we often find it necessary to have them come in every 4 months instead of every 6 months, so that we can help them manage their plaque buildup. Additionally I like to talk to patients about their sleeping and exercise habits. People who tend to suffer from Snoring, sleep apnea or who are big exercisers tend to breathe through their mouth more often so the mouth tends to be drier. With a drier mouth the plaque is able to accumulate at an accelerated rate thus leading to higher levels of plaque buildup and inflammation.

Dr. Maxwell Johnson
(520) 975-4965
The plaque that collects on your teeth during the course of the day is a soft microstructure composed of byproducts of food and bacteria. If you don't remove it mechanically at the end of the day by proper brushing and flossing it would harden overnight due to the action of your salivary glands.
They produce saliva that is bathing your teeth constantly adding to their cleans ability. The saliva is also contaning minerals like calcium that can turn soft plaque into hard deposits that need to be mechanically removed by dentist.
The sticky food would add to adherence of plaque to teeth as well as "dry mouth" if you are a mouth breather during sleep, or as a side effect of medications you are possibly taking. As always my suggestions would be to brush and floss, and watch the timing when you do that.
Plaque is a biofilm that consists of a matrix of sugars, proteins, and bacteria. It will be present regardless of the foods you eat, but sticky foods like breads or bananas will contribute more towards the presence of plaque. Even healthy foods can adhere to the teeth.

The best way to reduce plaque is to brush and floss properly after every meal. I would recommend that your dentist or hygienist spend some time with you demonstrating good home techniques. Depending on your visit, they may be able to recommend aides like a Waterpik or Rotadent that will help you.
I) Get a sonic care brush
I) waterpik with additive of Perio rinse mouth shows great results in riding of subgingival debris result at simple optimal gum health
I) Rinse with deferent mouthwash that is PH balanced to good oral flora
I) Tongue scrubber
I) OPTIONAL) Once every 2 weeks rinsing with peroxide small quantity 5 to 7ml for 30 seconds then rinse vigorously with water until sensation of foamy mouth goes away


This will set you on the right path of small investments, large gains and savings on your dental expenses in the future

Your Dr max
You can drink Green tea, Cranberry juice, eat Dairy cheese.
The only way to effectively keep dental plaque at bay is by brushing and flossing between meals, or at least twice a day. Because plaque formation is a normal byproduct of eating, plaque buildup is common. Plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing eventually hardens into tarter. If it’s not removed by a professional, tarter typically leads to gum disease. Rinsing your mouth out with water after eating -- especially if it’s fluoridated -- can help reduce plaque acids before you brush. Chewing sugarless gum is also beneficial, as it stimulates the flow of saliva. Opt for products made with xylitol, a low-calorie sweetener that helps prevent plaque.
Avoid starchy soft foods and focus on very fibrous fruits and vegetables, apples , carrots, etc
This is not dietary, but mechanical. Are you on any medications?
Some medications cause dry mouth which increases plaque buildup.
I suggest a sonicare brush used on the "gum care" setting.
This mechanically removes more plaque. Many people do not floss properly.
Make sure your dentist shows you how. There is also an air flosser ( by sonicare)
that is more user friendly o remove debris from between the teeth.
Continue your fluoride rinses.
You may need dental cleanings mor often. Ask your dentist.
Hope this helps you with your problem
Bacteria in plaque can trigger an inflammatory response that causes the breakdown of the gums or gingivitis, bone, and other supporting structures of your teeth or periodontitis.

Foods with fiber such as vegetables and fruits help with saliva flowing. Calcium in dairy products and cheese help to remineralize teeth that might have lost due to acids. Green and black teas contain polyphenols that can interact with plaque bacteria from growing or producing acids that destroys teeth. Chewing sugarless gums increases saliva production and removes food particles from your mouth.
If you are not using an electric toothbrush, that is the first thing I would recommend. There are several on the market, my favorite is Sonicare. Your manual toothbrush head should be changed every 3 months or when you notice that the bristles are beginning to splay.

In terms of diet, sugars, of course, will contribute to some additional build up, but other foods that can contribute to the plaque are simple carbs =E2=80=94 crackers, highly processed breads and pastas, cookies, granola bars. These break down to sugars quickly. Get more produce in the diet and if you are going to eat these simple carbs, eat along with fruits and veggies as this will help to cleanse those foods and keep them from sticking.
I hope this helps!

In Health,
Dr. Rankin
Plaque buildup is normal and does not cause any harm if you maintain the
Americam Dental Association recomendation of 6month recalls with your
dentist. Your dentist or Hygienist will clear the plaque and prevent its
calcification into calculus which leads to Gum disease.
People.with aggressive plaque buildup up usually have a higher mineral
levels in their saliva combined with high mineral intake in diets in
addition to foods That lead to staining ie coffee and tea drinkers.
Adding a Philips Sonicare toothbrush, Waterpik and Breath RX tongue scraper
to your routine will dramatically reduce the amount of plaque and calculus
that accumulates on your teeth between visits. Make sure to brush each of
the 4 areas: upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left for the full
30 seconds each with a total brushing time of 2 minutes. Do not scrub,
think of it more like sweeping. Let the Sonicare do the work and guide it
to all the surfaces of the teeth and gum line. Two fingers worth of
pressure is all the pressure you should put on your toothbrush. With the
Waterpik sweep the gum/tooth junction and pause and hold to irrigate
between each flossing point. -Dr. Bishop
Eating processed foods and starches and foods with high sugar content will increase your plaque formation potential. Try eating more fresh fruits , vegetables and meats and keeping processed foods to a minimum
Hello. First, let's consider what plaque is. Plaque is bacteria that is normally found in the mouth that, every 24 hours, organizes and lays down on your teeth and tongue. It is rather soft. If it is not removed, any plaque that remains on your teeth, especially the insides of the bottom front teeth and the outsides of the upper molars, will harden. At that point, the name changes and it's called calculus, or tartar. So... how do we remove it? Simply, by mechanical action. An electric or battery-operated toothbrush, and a sonic toothbrush, removes plaque far better than rushing by hand. It is extremely important, however, to actually get the toothbrush against the gumline - something that most people don't do. And if your gums bleed, ignore the blood and brush at your gums (GENTLY) anyway. Also, please remember to floss or use interdental cleaners, for instance, a proxabrush, to remove plaque from between your teeth. Good luck.
They way you should brush is alway brush close to the gum lines from inside and outside of your teeth. Plaque mostly accumulates around gum lines. Try that.
It does sound like you are doing the right things. I would suggest to get a sonic brush if you do not have one and use it for the full two minutes, especially before going to the dentist. ;) Foods that encourage bacteria are sugary foods, breads, and meats. Foods that discourage plaque are coarse fruits and vegetables. Personally, I am a carnivore but I seldom have a plaque problem, so I am not sure that it is your diet. Better brushing techniques or a better brush should help. You might need to brush and extra time throughout the day as well. Also, chewing sugar-free gum helps remove plaque, especially after a meal. I recommend Trident with xylitol. Good luck
It appears to me that you're doing all possible to invoke good dental check-ups. I doubt you've had a cavity in years and you probably have excellent periodontal health. What is a natural result of ingestion of foods and it is impossible to remove all plaque as it adheres to the pedicle that's allow the leaves when we swallow on the surfaces and in the crevices between our teeth. So it is microscopically unlikely that diminishing 100% of the plaque would not lead to some other conditions such as dry mouth or xerostomia as it is technically named. We also have multiple sets of salivary glands in our mouth that regulate the pH and help in preliminary digestion of foods that add more mucus to the bolus of food that we swallow. Fastidious brushing and cleaning of the teeth after meals is just as important as putting on our glasses to see. Even the most diligent hygiene any dentist or hygienist may have will not prevent some evidence of plaque when using disclosing solution and it is important to admonish against over brushing with a stiff brush as this can lead to other problems such as erosion or excessive abrasion of the teeth. So just caution to be thorough but don't overdo in an effort to eliminate what cannot be controlled 100%. The fact that you're making such a good effort and a lifelong habit of good hygiene will most likely guarantee you will have no problems from what little plaque disclosing Solutions might show in your mouth on a regular basis. Keep up the good work
If you are getting an abundance of plaque you might be that person who needs to brush more than twice a day. Cutting out foods will not change your plaque content. I would get an electric tooth brush, make sure you floss, and if you know what plaque looks like you can make sure it is gone. Hope theirs helps.
Darryl Burke DDS
Should brush before your next exam, if the dr finds plaque on your teeth , your technique should be revised.
If he finds no plaque, then you should brush more often.
You are doing all the right things. I would recommend rinsing your mouth out with water after every thing you eat or drink.
Unfortunately, plaque and tartar buildup is unavoidable. Plaque forms after 24 hours, and all foods create plaque, but avoiding sugar and carbs can reduce it. Plaque doesn’t stick permanently until 48-72 hours, but if you brush two times a day and floss daily, plaque usually comes off. However depending on your technique, it is inevitable to not collect any plaque or tartar which is why we recommend you get your dental checkup and cleanings twice a year.

Thank You,

You sound like you are doing all the right things.

I might suggest that you start to use a toothpaste that contains an anti microbial agent such as triclosan. This will help to reduce the bacterial load.

You could also try to reduce the amount of proline rich foods you consume. These include jelly, meats and peanuts. Proline rich proteins facilitate the adhesion of plaque bacteria to the dental pellicle.
Some people are just more prone to plaque then others. An electric tooth brush may help. Staying away from sugar is good and drink lots of water. 
1. You cannot eat anything to reduce plaque.
2. Anything that has sugar will feed the bacteria that are part of plaque. If you are brushing twice a day and flossing once a day and you still have a good amount of plaque, you are not being very effective. However, many people confuse "plaque", "calculus", "tartar". Calculus and tartar are the same thing - "calcified plaque" - a hard deposit on the teeth that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, but can be prevented by effective brushing and flossing. Plaque is mostly a soft bacterial accumulation that can be removed with effective brushing and flossing. Calculus is removed by the dental hygienist to help prevent gum disease.
Dear patient, it is not much about what you eat than about what you brush your teeth with. Tartar control tooth pastes remove plaque much better than regular tooth pastes. So when you shop for your tooth paste, please make sure it is tartar control. Second, try a sonic tooth brush. This is one of the best investments you can do for your teeth. The best brands are Sonicare brand or Oral B sonic tooth brush. They are more expensive than conventional tooth brushes but they worth every penny of it. Try these methods and if you still have questions I'll be more than happy to help.
Dr. Ramona
Plaque do build up on our teeth. That is the main reason why we need to brush our teeth. Eating soft, sticky food will result in more plaque on teeth. To reduce plaque then you could avoid these food OR brush your teeth after eating those food.
Do you breath through your mouth at night?! Do you have open bite? Has anyone ever told you whether you snore at night? If your answer in NO to any of those questions, you should avoid starch, like pasta, and bread! They are the most common reasons for extra plaque!!
If your answer is YES to any of them, please contact the office at (818) 646-0194 for a consultation regarding Night Guard and/or Sleep Apnea appliance!
If there is still a good amount of plaque on your teeth after brushing and flossing, it means that you may not be doing it properly or long enough. If you are using a regular toothbrush, the bristles may not be touching all areas of the tooth to remove the debri. See my Youtube channel for a recommendation on the motorized brush and instructions on usage at

It is good that you already avoid sugary foods when possible. As a general recommendation, it's best to limit the length of time sweets and carbohydrates (that turn to sugar) are in contact with your teeth. Sticky foods are worst because they will take longer to dissolve or clear from your teeth and gums.
I understand it can be quite frustrating for you when you are trying to do everything you can, but still getting unsatisfactory results. The amount of plaque accumulation can depends on various factors. Including the mucous consistency of your saliva, the pH balance in your mouth, your personal habit (smoker or not?), and of course, diet and oral hygiene habits. So try to make sure you keep yourself always hydrated, and consider always rinse out your mouth after a meal or snack. Maybe consider getting an air-flosser or water irrigation system to help with your flossing routine, especially if you have any sort of orthodontic fixed retainers in the back of your teeth. I hope this helps. Good luck.
Every person builds up plaque differently, and due to saliva content, diet, and oral hygiene, can have different tartar accumulations. Some of my patients that build tartar up more rapidly are placed on 4 or even 3 month recalls. Make sure you floss daily, brush or scrape your tongue daily, and maybe incorporate an Oral B or Sonicare electric rechargeable toothbrush.

Thanks for your question!
Plaque cannot be avoided altogether at all. It is deposited minutes after brushing. It is an unavoidable natural process and you can just reduce it. Try using Colgate Total which helps in reduction. You're doing everything right, but plaque is something which you cannot avoid, but reduce.
Typically, soft foods would create more plaque and crunchy foods such as raw veggies like carrots or celery would create less plaque. Plaque being a soft sticky substance that is made of saliva, bacteria and food.
Try chewing sugarless gum after eating and when you cannot brush (e.g. lunch).
Any food will cause plaque. Some people are more prone to plaque accumulation than others. I think you need to brush more than 2 times a day, preferably brush your teeth after eating anything.
Thank you for your question.

It sounds as if you are taking all the right steps towards a clean mouth. Some people have a tendency to create plaque and tartar faster than others. Many things can contribute such as dry mouth, mouth breathing, and some medications. Also, many foods have hidden sugars such as yogurt, wine, sauces, fruit juices, breads and cereals. Try to make sure you are well hydrated with water. If you find the plaque is still developing, dental cleanings every 4 months would help. Make sure to use an alcohol-free mouthwash as the alcohol kills bacteria initially, but will dry the mouth more. Also, use a tongue scraper to remove more bacteria from the mouth.

Starchy foods can lead to plaque accumulation. Apples, carrots, and other firm fruits and veggies are good to lower plaque build-up.
Carbohydrates are a big cause of plaque. They become very sticky with saliva and become difficult to remove with normal cleansing in the mouth. Stick to crunchy vegetables and cheese which help remove debris from teeth rather then stick to teeth! Hope this helps!
Plaque is a sticky substance made from leftover food particles, bacteria and saliva that mix in your mouth. If you don't brush properly, right after meals, it begins to form and build up on your teeth. That's why for some patients (base on their particular condition) we recommend a good brushing technique at least 3 or 4 times per day to avoid this plaque formation in between meals, thus avoiding tooth decay and gum disease.
some people form more plaque than other.just ask the cardiologist. but perhaps your brushing and flossing technique needs some help. I personally floss at least twice and day and brush 4-5 times per day. Eat more cheese it reduces plaque
It sounds like you might just need to improve your brushing and flossing techniques. Plaque is a soft material that should come off of tooth surfaces with proper oral hygiene techniques. Ask your dental hygienist to review these techniques with you.

Michael M. Blicher, D.D.S.
2112 F St., NW Suite 605
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 638-5400
Generally speaking, brushing immediately after eating is ideal.