You may have heard mention of the terms plaque and tartar when discussing dental care. You may have even heard the terms used interchangeably and because of that, you assumed that they were the same thing. The truth is that there is a difference between these terms and what they mean for your oral health. Let’s take a look.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is the sticky, colorless residue that builds up on your teeth and around the gum line. This sticky substance is constantly forming on your teeth and is made up of food particles, saliva, and sugar. When plaque builds up it will contribute to the grimy or gritty feeling you get on your teeth in between brushing. Even after brushing and flossing, plaque will begin to form on your teeth within hours.
What is Tartar?
Tartar, also known as Calculus, is simply built up plaque that has hardened over time. It is typically yellow in color and very hard and porous. When plaque has not been properly removed from the teeth, it turns into this stubborn, hard to remove substance. The only way to remove tartar is to visit your dentist and have him/her remove it for you using dental instruments. Tartar that is untreated puts you at higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
How Can I Prevent Plaque and Tartar?
The best way to protect your mouth, teeth, and gums is to brush twice daily and floss at least once a day. Brushing will remove plaque on the surface of the teeth; however, floss is needed to remove plaque buildup between the teeth and around the gum line. You should also visit your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings every six months.
If you have tooth crowding and find that even with brushing and flossing you still have a significant amount of plaque buildup between dental cleanings, you should consider visiting an orthodontist. Crooked or crowded teeth can make keeping your teeth plaque-free even more challenging. An orthodontist will be able to recommend a plan of action to straighten and fix the crowding of your teeth.
Follow these tips to prevent plaque from turning into tartar. If you’re due for a professional teeth cleaning, contact us today to schedule your appointment. Whether you have plaque or tartar, the best step you can take in preventing tooth decay and gum disease is to have your teeth cleaned and begin practicing good oral hygiene. Let Easton Dental clinic help restore your mouth to a clean, beautiful smile!