The Difference Between Plaque and Tartar

July 23, 2019

toothbrush and flossAlthough our patients know that plaque and dental tartar are not good for oral health, it can be easy to forget their differences and how to manage the two.

Tartar and plaque are usually lumped together because both are caused by a buildup of bacteria. Both can be difficult to spot, but each is equally important to take care of in order to keep your pearly whites healthy and clean.

Let’s take a closer look at each!

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that naturally builds up on our teeth within 4-12 hours after brushing. The combination of sugars we eat and our saliva produces bacteria that coats our teeth and settles along our gum line, giving off acids that eventually lead to enamel erosion.

When we don’t take time to brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit our dentist twice a year, plaque buildup can create larger issues, like cavities and gum disease.

What is Tartar?

professional teeth cleaningTartar is a tough, crusty deposit that is formed when plaque buildup goes unnoticed. This stubborn substance can lead to:

  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gum disease

Tartar removal can only be taken care of by a dental professional, which is one of the reasons why we strongly urge you to visit your dentist twice a year!

Schedule a Dental Appointment Every 6 Months

Even though it may not always be a priority, keeping your mouth healthy includes visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning every 6 months.

At your 6-month dental check-up, your dentist will monitor your teeth and gums and professionally clean your mouth so you can preserve your healthy smile!

Contact us to schedule your appointment today.