Plaque and Tarter: What it does to your mouth!

What is Plaque and Tartar?

Plaque is constantly forming on our teeth and on our gum lines. Full of bacteria, it is a colorless and sticky film that is constantly forming in our mouths. It contains the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease.  If plaque isn’t removed properly by brushing and flossing, it will turn into tartar. Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is hardened plaque that attaches to your teeth and below the gumline.

If plaque is not removed regularly it can irritation and inflammation around the gumline and your teeth. This irritation and inflammation can cause Gingivitis. Gingivitis is red, swollen and bleeding gums. If not properly treated it can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Tartar appears as a yellowish or brownish build up around the base of teeth and gum lines. Unlike plaque, its fairly easy to see and feel. Tarter attaches to the teeth more like cement and requires professional removal from your dentist or  dental hygienist for a professional cleaning on a regular basis.

Why Do We Get Plaque and Tartar?

Eating and drinking foods and beverages remain in our mouths long after we’ve finished them. This is what the bacteria in our mouths thrive on. The  bacteria eats the sugars, carbohydrates in our foods creating acids that attack the enamel on our teeth. It’s important to brush and floss effectively twice daily to prevent an excess build up of plaque on the teeth. Once plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and gumline its much easier for new plaque and tartar to adhere to. Failing to remove plaque build up can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis and gum and bone infections that lead to tooth loss.

How do we Prevent Plaque and Tartar?

Its super easy to prevent plaque buildup and tartar forming on our teeth with just a few easy to follow rules.

  1. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, morning and night, for at least two minutes to thoroughly remove plaque from all of the surfaces of your teeth.
  2. Be sure to floss each day to remove food and plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line, the places your toothbrush can not reach.
  3. Watch what you eat! Avoiding sweet, sticky or starchy foods and snacks.
  4. Schedule regular dental visits for professional examinations and cleanings twice a year.

Remember, your dentist or dental hygienist are the only ones who can properly remove tartar from your teeth and gumline. Be sure to have your teeth checked regularly and more importantly be sure to brush and floss your teeth everyday to keep your mouth healthy!


For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.



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