Tooth Plaque and Tartar

You already know that plaque and tartar are the leading causes of tooth decay. However, are you aware that the two terms are actually different? Here is a crash course on these terminologies.

What is plaque?

According to WebMD, “plaque is the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on teeth. It makes teeth “feel fuzzy” to the tongue and is most noticeable when teeth are not brushed.”

Plaque develops on your teeth when you eat food rich in sugar and starches. If you don’t brush your teeth properly, bacteria from food will create an acidic environment in your mouth. This acid will break down your tooth enamel and start the process of tooth decay. It can also grow on the roots under the gum, and trigger the breakdown of the bone that supports your teeth.

What is tartar?

While plaque is already daunting on its own, tartar can wreak more havoc on your teeth. Also known as calculus, WebMD describes tartar as plaque buildup that has solidified. It “forms below and above the gum line. It is rough and porous and can lead to receding gums and gum disease. It must be removed with special tools in the dentist’s office.”

While you can easily remove plaque by brushing your teeth and cleaning your mouth, tartar makes it difficult to brush and floss normally. If you cannot perform proper oral hygiene while you have tartar in your mouth, then things will get very tricky for you. Plus, if you have tartar above your gum line, you are more prone to progressive gum disease such as gingivitis.

How can you prevent tartar and plaque buildup on teeth?

To get rid of this bacteria, the first thing you should do is to practice proper oral hygiene. You have to prevent tartar from growing in your mouth, so to do that, you have to get rid of plaque! Here are some best practices when it comes to cleaning your mouth:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a rounded-tip bristled toothbrush. Make sure you clean the point where your teeth and gums meet. Also, brush both the front and the back of your teeth. Use toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Aside from brushing your teeth, make sure that you floss between your teeth at least once a day. Flossing will ensure that all food particles and bacteria are removed from the surface of your teeth and in between your teeth. To be extra clean, make sure you also use an antibacterial mouthwash. If ever there are any bacteria left in your mouth, the antibacterial mouthwash should get rid of them before they can cause plaque and gum disease.
  • Watch your diet! Avoid snacking on overly sweet food and those that are rich in carbohydrates.
  • Go to your dentist at least twice every year for a routine checkup and to properly clean your teeth.

With regular visits to the dentist, you will be able to keep plaque and tartar buildup at bay. Call us today at 480-705-9005 to find out how we can help you achieve your optimum oral health.