Plaque vs. Tartar: All You Need to Know!

If you brush and floss regularly, you probably never have to worry about plaque and tartar. In simple words, plaque is a collection of bacteria that thrive on teeth, gums, and inside the mouth. Plaque looks like a yellow, slimy film that is typically visible between teeth. Plaque can be removed through brushing. However, if plaque is not removed, it calcifies into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed through brushing. You can check for a clinic specializing in Family Dentistry Wichita Falls to get an oral exam done. If there is tartar, your dentist can remove that through scaling. Here’s more about plaque and tartar. 

Should you worry about plaque and tartar?

Yes, absolutely. Both plaque and tartar can increase the risk of gum diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis. The bacteria can cause inflammation, which can lead to gum bleeding, infection, and excruciating pain. Plaque accumulates on your teeth as bacteria mixes with food and saliva. Plaque contains over 500 bacteria species, but not all are bad. Harmful bacteria of plaque produce acids, which can affect the teeth and gums. 

What are the common symptoms of plaque and tartar?

If you have plaque, you may have chronic bad breath, which may refuse to subside without brushing. Your gums may also become tender and can bleed while brushing and flossing. When plaque settles on your teeth, it gets mixed with minerals of the saliva to become tartar. Tartar looks like this hard coating on the surface of the teeth, just below the gumline. Symptoms of tartar include a rough feeling on the teeth’s surface and gum bleeding. 

Can you prevent plaque buildup?

Yes, a few basic oral hygiene steps can prevent the buildup of plaque and hence prevent tartar. Brush your teeth regularly, at least twice every day. Flossing is as important. Check with a dentist for a routine checkup and get your teeth cleaned professionally as recommended. Avoid sugary foods that add to the plaque problem. 

How is tartar removed?

Professional cleaning is needed to remove tartar. Typically, dentists rely on scaling to remove plaque and tartar and prevent further buildup. 

Talk to a known dentist about improving your oral hygiene habits, as that’s the best way to counter plaque. If you already have visible tartar, don’t delay getting a scaling session done. Your dentist may also recommend using an interdental brush for effective flossing. Keep up with your dental appointments. 

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