What Are Plaque and Tartar?

The answer to this question is important because once we understand what plaque and tartar are, it becomes clear why it’s so important to take remove them from our teeth. First, we’ll discuss plaque. Next we’ll talk about one of its products — tartar.

Plaque and Why You Don’t Want It!

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on the surface of your teeth and gives your teeth that “fuzzy feeling” if you neglect to maintain a daily dental care routine. Plaque begins to develop soon after brushing and flossing, so brush at least twice daily and floss once a day to keep plaque in check. Left alone to develop and multiply, plaque coats teeth and causes gum problems and bacterial infection. Fighting this daily buildup of plaque is important because our mouths are never really bacteria-free — the only way to control plaque is to have a good oral health care routine.

What’s Up With Tartar?

Tartar is sometimes confused with plaque, but it is actually different. Tartar, also called calculus, is a product of plaque and saliva mixed together. It is deposited on teeth when calcium and phosphate from the saliva bonds with other minerals in plaque to make hardened deposits. We all need calcium for healthy bones and teeth, but not calculus! Removing tartar buildup is very hard and requires the help of our Placerville dentists and hygienists. Doing so is essential, because otherwise the tartar is like a whole new habitat for oral bacteria. Without the dentist removing tartar during your professional cleaning, more plaque settles onto the tartar buildup only to start a continuous cycle with painful results — unless it’s nipped in the bud.

Keep Plaque and Tartar Under Control

To keep plaque and tartar in check, never neglect to brush and floss daily. Use a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphates as these form a helpful barrier on your teeth when you brush, slowing down the formation of tartar from plaque. These toothpastes generally say they have “tartar control” on the label. In additional to your own brushing and flossing, visit your dentists at Placerville Dental Group for regular cleanings to remove built up tartar and stains. Our friendly dentists will check to make sure your gums are healthy and in good shape.

We all like to feel warm and fuzzy, but your teeth shouldn’t! Plaque and tartar are enemies of your teeth and thrive on neglect. Bleeding gums are usually the first sign that plaque and tartar have started their dirty work, so act fast and keep buildup from damaging your oral health. Your Placerville dentists and hygienists are also happy to give tips on daily oral care, so schedule your appointment today! Call us at 530-295-8000, visit at 699 Main Street, Suite B, or use our website to arrange your visit.
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