Plaque and Tartar - Identifying the Difference and Methods of Prevention

While plaque and tartar are similar, there are some differences between the two. Knowing the difference between these two dental buildup substances can help you with better preventative oral care. Plus, give you knowledge on when to seek help from a dental specialist about your oral health concerns.

What’s the Difference?

Essentially, plaque and tartar are the same thing. However, there is one thing that makes them different; time. Basically, plaque is built upon the surface of the teeth. Tartar is hardened plaque that develops from plaque that isn’t removed with regular brushing or maintenance.

Plaque is a buildup of a film-like substance that sticks to the teeth, caused by eating and drinking. It’s a normal substance that’s not something that’s inherently dangerous, as most of it is removed with daily brushing and flossing routines. However, if plaque is not removed with regular oral maintenance, it can begin to harden into tartar, making it tougher to remove. Plus, lead to dental issues you may wish to avoid, which can require treatment to address successfully.

The Dangers of Build-Up

Plaque and tartar are unhealthy for the teeth as they can lead to irreparable damage if not addressed. Sure, when plaque is removed on a regular basis, there is less cause for worry. But, without routine oral cleaning and hygiene maintenance, plaque and tartar build-up can be something to worry about.

Plaque is bacteria that sticks to the surface of teeth in order to feed on the food and beverages we consume. While this bacteria isn’t what actually harms the teeth, it’s what the bacteria releases. Plaque and tartar release acids once they’ve consumed minuscule food particles in our mouths which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. This is why it’s important to address plaque buildup on a daily basis. Plus, identify and take care of tartar buildup in the mouth if it’s discovered.

When tooth decay caused by buildup isn’t addressed, other dental and health problems can arise. These issues can include:

  • yellowing of the teeth
  • gum disease
  • tooth infection
  • tooth extraction
  • heart disease

Due to the seriousness of these issues, identifying the presence of plaque and tartar buildup is essential. But, fortunately, there are ways to prevent plaque and tartar buildup that can keep a person from ever having to experience the problems that these substances can allow for.

Preventative Care and Dental Treatment to Deal With Tartar Build-Up

If you notice that your teeth have plaque or tartar buildup, there are a few things you can do. First, talk to your dentist and hygenist about your oral health concerns and find out if there has been any damage done to your oral health as a result of tartar build-up. And, start implementing preventative techniques to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar that include:

  • daily brushing of teeth, especially after eating
  • flossing in between teeth to remove plaque on hard-to-reach surfaces
  • getting routine professional dental cleanings every 6 months

Need a dental check-up to find out more about plaque management for your optimal oral health? Give Riverbend Family Dentistry a call today at (561) 701-9700.