Have you ever wondered what is the difference between plaque and tartar? Many think they are interchangeable, but it’s important to know the difference and how to prevent both. Plaque and tartar buildup are the result of bacteria in your mouth. If left untreated, the buildup can lead to serious oral health problems.
What is Plaque?
Dental plaque is that soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and under your gums throughout the day. It is a layer of bacteria and sugars that persistently forms on your teeth. Food particles, sugar, and saliva all combine to form this residue which makes your teeth feel dirty between brushings. The bacteria produce an acid that can cause cavities, tooth pain, periodontal disease or gum diseases such as gingivitis.
What is Tartar?
Tartar is the buildup of plaque that has accumulated on your teeth and is usually visible around the gum line. Tartar is a hard, yellow or brown substance that cannot be easily removed. It develops when minerals in your saliva and plaque left on your teeth react. It makes flossing and brushing your teeth difficult. Tartar can cause tooth discoloration, tooth loss, cavities, gum recession and gum disease. Daily removal of plaque can prevent the development of tartar altogether.
Preventing Plaque and Tartar
Establishing a great oral hygiene regimen is the best thing you can do to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. This includes brushing two times a day for at least 2 minutes each time, flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist for hygiene visits at least twice a year.
Everyone experiences plaque buildup regardless of how well you care for your teeth and gums. Therefore, it’s important to disrupt the bacteria every 6-10 hours in order to ensure that plaque on your teeth does not develop into tartar. Call New Town Dentistry to schedule your next cleaning today.