Differences Between Plaque and Tartar

dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar

You’ve often heard about plaque and tartar from your dentist and that it’s important to remove them in caring for your teeth and oral health. You have your teeth cleaned as advised and that’s it. But I guess you’ve wondered, up until now, what plaque and tartar are and how they differ.

Let us help you with differentiating the two to gain a further understanding on how you can prevent them.

First, both plaque and tartar are usual dental problems that cause tooth decay and gum disease. It may lead to more complications when not properly removed. Plaque is the first to appear on the tooth’s surface and gum line within four to 12 hours after eating. 

Regular brushing and flossing should remove it easily, but if you fail to, plaque will build up and harden into tartar. You can’t get rid of tartar by merely brushing, only your dentist can remove it!

What is Plaque?

Consider plaque as your invisible tooth enemy. It’s sticky and colorless which makes it hard to notice, but know that it’s there. It contains bacteria from the mixture of saliva, sugar and fluids and it builds up where the teeth and gums meet.

These types of bacteria produce acids that cause teeth cavities and gum bleeding. When you fail to do regular brushing and flossing, plaque will accumulate which will lead to tartar buildup.

Plaque is the root cause of many oral health problems, so it’s best to regularly brush and floss your teeth to remove plaque.

What is Tartar?

Tartar is plaque that hardens. It’s a solid, mineralized deposit that traps stains that causes tooth discoloration. It’s very visible and you can feel it with your tongue. Normally, tartar is yellow or brown in color that forms on tooth surfaces or in the gum lines.

Since it’s a buildup of plaque that isn’t removed, it can grow with time that can lead to bad breath and large scale tooth cavities. Generally, you’ll be more prone to tartar as you age. The only way to remove it is with a dental cleaning.

As always, good oral hygiene is your best bet to prevent tartar from building up and causing havoc.

In this video, Dr. Taj Haynes discusses the differences between plaque and tartar.


Prevention Tips

As the good old proverbs say, “Prevention is better than cure”. Here are some ways you can prevent plaque and tartar buildup:

1. Brush your teeth regularly, at least twice a day with an antibacterial fluoride toothpaste. This toothpaste is specially formulated to eliminate bacteria in your mouth.

2. Floss regularly, at least once a day to remove food particles that are trapped in between teeth and gums.

3. Replace toothbrush at least every three to four months to also avoid dirt and bacteria building up on the bristles.

4. Gargle with mouthwash to further dislodge dirt and food accumulation. This will also protect your teeth against cavities and gums from gingivitis.

5. Eat nutritious foods to strengthen your teeth and gums. Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C, D, iron and calcium are good for teeth and gum health.

6. Regular dental checkups and cleaning would ensure that there are no plaque or tartar buildups. Schedule an appointment at least twice a year with your dentist.

Teeth Cleaning Removes Plaque and Tartar

You can definitely prevent plaque from happening with good oral hygiene. However, without proper brushing or flossing, you might leave some areas where plaque and tartar can accumulate later.

The best way to prevent plaque and tartar from building up is through dental cleanings. You should schedule regular teeth cleaning appointments with your dentist to effectively remove plaque and tartar.

During your teeth cleaning appointment, your dentist or dental hygienist will use a scaler to scrape plaque and tartar from the gum line and in between teeth. The more tartar there is, the more time it takes to clean your teeth.

Dental Cleaning in Charlotte

You might be experiencing plaque and tartar today and wanted to get rid of it. If you live in Charlotte or the surrounding areas and need to get your teeth cleaned, then Modern Family Dental Care is your go-to dental practice.

We offer thorough and affordable dental cleaning services, along with other treatment options. So what are you waiting for? Contact us or schedule an appointment today and reap the rewards of clean and healthy teeth with Modern Family Dental Care.

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