Plaque vs Tartar

Posted on January 20, 2021 by Associates of Dentistry

What is the difference between plaque and tartar? It is a common misconception that these two are the same. However, there is an important difference between these two.  The difference between them can help explain why daily oral hygiene, as well as twice-yearly visits to your dentist, are crucial to keeping your oral health in check.

What Is plaque?

Plaque is a soft sticky film that builds up through out the day around your teeth and under your gums. This soft sticky film contains millions of bacteria that feed on the food you consume, especially carbohydrates and sugar. These bacteria produce acids that erode tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Having a good daily oral hygiene is essential to prevent tooth decay and keep your smile strong and safe from bacteria found in plaque.  Always remember to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to prevent plaque buildup. Drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can also help!

What Is Tartar?

So if plaque is daily build up of bacteria on your teeth, then what is tartar? Tartar is what accumulates on your teeth when plaque is not removed.  When plaque is left on your teeth for too long it will harden into tartar.  Tartar is much more difficult to remove than plaque and can only be effectively removed by a dental professional. Because tartar cannot be removed by regular brushing and flossing it is important to visit your dentist every six months to keep your teeth in the best possible health.

Plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities. Tartar can cause tooth discoloration, sensitivity, gum recession as well as periodontal disease.

Even with great oral hygiene plaque and tartar formation are inevitable.  So come see us every six moths and let us help you maintain a beautiful healthy smile!

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