WE OFTEN GET THE QUESTION
from our patients, “What’s the difference between plaque and
tartar?” Many people think they are the same thing. There is an
important difference between the two, however, and it can help explain
just why a daily oral hygiene routine is so crucial, as well as twice-yearly
visits to your dentist.
What Is Plaque?
Dental plaque is that soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and
under your gums throughout the day. And guess what?
It contains millions of bacteria! When you eat—especially carbohydrates or sugar—you’re
not the only one getting a meal, so are the bacteria on your teeth. After
“eating,” these bacteria produce acids that erode your tooth
enamel and cause cavities.
good daily oral hygiene is essential to preventing tooth decay and protecting
your smile from the bacteria in plaque. To prevent plaque buildup, remember to brush at least twice a day and
floss once a day. Drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals
and snacks can also help!
What Is Tartar?
So if that’s plaque, what’s tartar? Tartar is what accumulates
on your teeth when plaque is not removed. If plaque is left on your teeth
for too long, it will harden into tartar and is much more difficult to
remove. In fact,
tartar can only be removed by a dental professional–you can’t get rid of it with regular brushing and flossing.
Tartar removal is one of the reasons that visiting your dentist every
six months is so important!
Plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities.
It can cause tooth discoloration and sensitivity as well as gum recession
and periodontal disease. To reduce tartar formation, make sure you get rid of plaque by brushing
and flossing daily.
Orthodontic Treatment Can Help
It is harder to get into those little nooks and crannies between the teeth
when they are crooked or crowded, making brushing and flossing more difficult.
Overlapping teeth can even trap food particles, leading to more severe
plaque buildup and a higher risk of tooth decay. Straight teeth allow for easier brushing and flossing and thus, less plaque!
You Deserve A Beautiful, Healthy Smile
No matter how great your oral hygiene is, plaque and tartar formation are
inevitable. So despite your regular visits to the orthodontist, make sure
to see your general dentist every six months as well. As dental professionals,
it’s our job is to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that’s
plaque- and tarter-free!
Thank you for your trust and loyalty.
|The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional
medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified
health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.