Dental Tips Blog

Nov
28

Plaque and Tartar – Is There a Difference?

Plaque and tartar are often regarded as one and the same. If it’s all buildup on your teeth – does it really matter what you call it?

Actually, there is a difference. The two materials affect you mouth in slightly different ways, but they are closely related. By understanding what plaque and tartar are, you’ll be ready to remove and prevent them, keeping your teeth healthy.

What Dental Plaque Really Is

Plaque is a mixture that’s mostly made up of bacteria. It also contains food debris mixed with fluids from your mouth. The bacteria produce a slimy layer to protect themselves as they grow in colonies.

Dental plaque is invisible at first, but it picks up stain as it accumulates.

Plaque is very acidic! Left on the tooth too long, it causes demineralization of the enamel. Chalky white spots form on the tooth and mark the start of cavities.

Speaking of cavities, plaque is made up of the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. So it’s not great to leave plaque undisturbed.

Fortunately it is easy to remove, but also easy to overlook.

Where Tartar Comes From

Tartar, on the other hand, is not so easy to remove.

Also known as calculus, tartar forms from plaque that has hardened with minerals found in saliva. Tartar isn’t as serious as plaque because it isn’t made up of live bacteria, but the roughness of it can still harbor lots of plaque.

How do you get rid of tartar and plaque?

A professional dental cleaning will get you started! Visit a dental office near you to learn more about keeping your smile healthy and debris-free.

Posted on behalf of:
Dentistry of Highland Village
3651 Weslayan St. #208
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 360-7700

Jul
31

Is There a Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

You’ve heard the ads. Just about any product promoted for cleaning your teeth claims to fight plaque and tartar. But just what are these icky and unwelcome substances? Why should you be trying to fight them off?

The Daily Battle with Plaque

Plaque is a clear or white film made of:

  • Bacteria
  • Food debris
  • Natural fluids from your mouth

There’s no way that you can avoid plaque 100% of the time. It’s a natural biofilm, but it is also potentially very dangerous.

Plaque trapped between teeth can trigger cavities because of the acids produced by some bacteria. Plaque left along the gum line for more than a day can irritate your gums. This results in the inflammation known as gingivitis. If left unchecked, gingivitis can advance to a more serious form of gum disease, periodontitis.

When germs collect on a tooth surface and begin multiplying, they develop a protective film. This is the start of dental plaque, and this process can begin on a clean tooth surface within hours!

Why Tartar Is Not Good for Teeth Either

Undisturbed plaque deposits mix with minerals in your saliva and turn into – yes, you guessed it! Tartar.

Better known as “tartar,” calculus is the substance that results when plaque is not removed regularly. It can form at a more rapid rate in some individuals than others. Calculus provides the ideal surface for disease-causing bacteria to hide out on. Unless it is removed, it can easily encourage gum inflammation.

A Clean Smile is a Healthy Smile

Adult mouths, young mouths, and even mouths with few natural teeth can all develop dental plaque. A good routine of oral hygiene is important for keeping plaque and tartar deposits at bay. Visit your local dentist for professional dental cleanings at least every 6 months.

Posted on behalf of:
Meadowbrook Family Dental
8848 Calvine Rd #120
Elk Grove, CA 95828
(916) 912-4126

Jun
22

The Real Danger of Dental Plaque and How to Remove It

You hear about dental plaque all the time in advertisements for toothpaste and mouthwash. Just what is plaque, why do you need to efficiently get rid of it, and how can you do so?

Learning these answers can make all the difference in the state of your dental health.

How a Biofilm Forms

Dental plaque is a biofilm. It occurs naturally and is made up of living things. It’s essentially a combination of food debris, natural fluids produced by your mouth, and naturally occurring bacteria. Everyone has plaque! It forms within hours after brushing and is invisible until it significantly accumulates. The longer it stays undisturbed, the more harmful bacteria gather.

Plaque – Why Is It Bad?

When allowed to grow uninterrupted, the biofilm in plaque multiply and live safely within the matrix, or fluids, of the plaque. The presence of the bacteria is what triggers an inflammatory reaction in the gums.

Have you ever had a splinter in your finger? The wound gets swollen and inflamed because your body is reacting to remove the unwelcome germs. Your gums respond similarly to the bad bacteria in plaque.

This inflammation is what makes your gums puffy, sensitive, and prone to bleeding when brushed or flossed. This happens because small blood vessels in your gums have expanded. This inflammation is called gingivitis.

What You Can Do

Control plaque formation by:

  • Regular brushing and flossing
  • Use of an antimicrobial rinse
  • Having regular professional dental cleanings

Visiting your dentist is imperative to make sure your gum health is stable. If your current routine of oral care needs adjusting, then the team at your local dental office will give you the best personalized recommendations. Call your dentist today!

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

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