What is the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

Do you think that plaque and tartar are one in the same? If you do, you are not alone. However, people in that camp are unfortunately incorrect. Although the two are related, they are actually different. Keep reading to learn about the difference between plaque and tartar.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a soft and sticky film that builds up on teeth and under the gums throughout the day. Plaque contains a great deal of bacteria that feed on the food you eat, particularly carbohydrates and sugar. After the bacteria are done eating, they produce acids that erode teeth and cause cavities. The best way to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth is to brush twice a day and floss once a day. It can also help to drink water and chew sugar-free gum after meals.

What is tartar?

Tartar accumulates on your teeth as a result of plaque not being removed over a period of time. Not only can tartar buildup cause cavities, but it can also cause teeth to become discolored and sensitive. It can also cause gums to recede and lead to periodontal disease as well.

Tarter can only be removed by a dental professional and is one of the main reasons it is important to visit the dentist twice a year.

Preventing Plaque Buildup

Preventing tartar starts with preventing plaque. Here are some easy ways to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth:

  • Brush thoroughly for at least two minutes two times a day
  • Use tartar control toothpaste
  • Use an electric toothbrush
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash every day
  • Floss at least once daily to remove plaque from between teeth and under gums
  • Limit sugary, starchy and sticky foods
  • Do not smoke
  • Visit the dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning.

If it has been awhile since you have seen a dentist or if you are looking for a new dentist, contact Petaluma Dentist today. We can help you get your teeth healthy.

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