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The Difference Between Plaque & Tartar

Plaque & Tarter

A common misconception in our office is that there isn’t much of a difference between plaque and tartar. Most of our patients assume that the words can be interchangeable when being applied to the bacteria accumulation on the teeth. Because we at SpringRock Dental put a strong emphasis on patient education, we want to inform you of the differences between these two harmful substances and how to avoid them.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, clear substance, which is constantly being formed on your teeth. When your saliva mixes with the food particles and sugar in your mouth, plaque is formed and sticks to the teeth. This is the residue that can make your teeth and mouth feel dirty and textured between brushings.

Plaque will begin to form on the teeth just a few hours after you brush and will continue to build up until you brush your teeth again. This is why it’s important to make sure you brush at least twice every day. Interrupting the plaque buildup process will contribute to a beautiful and healthy smile.

What Is Tartar?

Tartar is what will occur if you don’t remove the buildup of plaque regularly and thoroughly. After a while, the plaque will harden into the substance known as tartar (sometimes also called calculus). Once hardened, tartar can’t be removed from the teeth without professional help. Your toothbrush will not be able to clear tartar away from the teeth. As it progresses, tartar will become more and more difficult to remove.

If tartar goes untreated for long enough, it will increase your chances of suffering from gum disease and tooth decay, both of which are quite painful.

We all have plaque building up on our teeth. The best way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy is to follow a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using mouthwash, and visiting our office every six months for a professional dental cleaning and exam.

For more tips on how to maintain a healthy smile, or to make an appointment, please contact SpringRock Dental today. Our office is proud to serve dental patients from Aurora, CO and the surrounding areas.

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