What’s the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

What’s the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

Plaque and tartar are two different types of deposits that can form on your teeth and gums. While they may sound similar, they are quite different and can affect your oral health differently.

Plaque is a thin, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth and gums. It is composed of food particles, bacteria, and saliva, and it can build up quickly if not removed through proper oral hygiene. Plaque not removed can harden into tartar, also known as calculus.

Tartar is a hard, yellow, or brown deposit that forms on your teeth and gums. It is made up of bacteria, food particles, and minerals from your saliva, and it is much harder to remove than plaque. A dental professional can only remove Tartar through scaling and root planing.

One of the main differences between plaque and tartar is that plaque is soft and can be easily removed with proper brushing and flossing. In contrast, tartar is hard and requires professional intervention to remove. Plaque is also colorless, while tartar is typically yellow or brown.

Plaque and tartar can cause problems for oral health if they are not adequately addressed. Plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not removed, as the bacteria in plaque produce acids that can erode the enamel on your teeth and cause inflammation in your gums. Tartar, on the other hand, can also cause tooth decay and gum disease, but it can also contribute to bad breath and make your teeth appear yellow or brown.

To prevent the formation of plaque and tartar, it is important to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings. Your dentist can also help remove any existing tartar during a professional cleaning.

The main difference between plaque and tartar is that plaque is a soft, sticky film of bacteria that can be removed with proper oral hygiene. In contrast, tartar is a complex, yellow, or brown deposit that requires professional intervention to remove. Plague and tartar can have adverse effects on your oral health if not adequately addressed, so it is essential to practice good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly.

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  • Could not possibly thank Dr. Houck, Gabby, and staff enough for the wonderful care I receive. In addition to excellent dentistry, their compassionate approach and communication really sets them apart. They are always kind, caring, and take time to explain things in detail. Easy to contact the office with any needs, and they are always quick to respond. Highly recommend.

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  • Amazing place. Started taking our family there in 2014. Professional, kind, and most importantly excellent at every level of service.

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