Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s the Difference?
Plaque vs. tartar? You’ve undoubtedly heard that plaque and tartar aren’t terrific for your teeth. Keep reading for the low down on plaque and tartar and why it’s so essential to your oral health that you prevent them from getting a toehold in your mouth.
What is plaque?
Plaque is an invisible enemy that lives on your teeth and, left unchecked, can lead to cavities and tooth loss. According to the American Dental Association, plaque is an invisible bacteria-filled film that covers each tooth in your mouth. The bacteria springs into action and creates acid every time that you eat something that contains sugar. The acid attacks the enamel on your vulnerable teeth and, over time, leads to disaster in your mouth.
Although there isn’t anything pleasant about plaque, the happy news is that it’s possible to remove plaque through a routine that includes (1) brushing, (2) flossing, and (3) professional cleanings. Thoroughly cleaning all surfaces of your teeth, including between each tooth, is essential to protecting your smile from the destructive powers of plaque.
The truth about tartar
Tartar is the substance that forms when you fail to remove all of the plaque from around a tooth. When it’s left undisturbed, plaque transforms into the superhard material known as tartar. One of the most significant dangers that come from too much tartar in the mouth is that it has a nasty tendency to develop around the gum line and cause receding gums along with the beginning stages of gum disease.
Unlike plaque, which goes away through daily cleaning, the only way to successfully remove tartar from your mouth is through an uncomfortable visit to the dental. Indeed, anyone who has ever experienced the picking away of tartar during a professional dental cleaning can tell you that it’s a far better option to prevent the tartar from accumulating in your mouth in the first place.
How to win the plaque vs. tartar competition
As you can see, when we think about plaque vs. tartar, it’s vital to your oral health that both substances disappear from your mouth. The best way to ensure a happy smile is through
- Brush a minimum of two times a day
- Daily flossing
- Drink water
- Minimize sugar and sticky foods in your diet
- Change your toothbrush every few months
- Regular visits to the dentist
It’s sometimes easy to forget that the foods that you eat play a big part in helping you to fight plaque. Experts recommend that you include things like (1) fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, (2) dairy products, (3) foods and drinks containing fluoride, and (4) sugar-free chewing gum in your plaque-busting diet.
Make sure that you don’t sabotage your oral health habits by consuming things that will increase the level of plaque activity in your mouth. Stay away from (1) candy, (2) carbonated drinks, (3) carb-loaded bread and chips, and (4) things that might dry out your mouth.
Lastly, make the effort today to reduce the chance that plaque and tartar will make a home on your teeth. After all, a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime is well worth a little extra brushing and flossing.
We love helping our patients achieve beautiful smiles. Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for help with all of your orthodontic needs.