How Are Plaque And Tartar Different?

Have you heard your dentist talking about plaque and tartar, and are not sure what the differences are? If so, you may want to know the following things about these two substances that can damage your teeth.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is the soft gooey substance that forms on your teeth during the day. Plaque is a substance that is soft enough to remove through brushing and flossing every single day. Everyone has plaque forming on their teeth in different amounts, which really depends on their mouth. Plaque tends to wash off the teeth with saliva throughout the day, which means someone with a lot of saliva can have less plaque than someone with a very dry mouth. With that in mind, nobody is immune to plaque buildup either.

What Is Tartar?

Tartar is what forms on your teeth when the plaque is ignored for a while and it hardens. This can happen after as little as a day or two of not brushing and flossing. That plaque mineralizes on the surface of the tooth and becomes as hard as a rock. If the plaque sits on your teeth for too long, it can eat away at the enamel and cause a cavity to form. If tartar forms beneath the gum line, it can lead to gum disease and gingivitis. In extreme situations with extended neglect for a very long time, it can cause tooth loss.

How Is Plaque Removed?

The best way to remove plaque is to go to the dentist and have them remove the plaque with a dental scaler. It is not the most pleasant experience, but that sharp metal tool tends to get the job done quite well. There are also ultrasonic scalers that use a combination of water and vibrations to break up the plaque.

You may be wondering why you can't just do this at home and buy your own dental scaler. First of all, there is no way to know for sure if the tool you are buying is made out of medical-grade materials and safe to use on your teeth. You also do not have the same experience as a dentist to clean your own teeth, and will never do as good of a job as your dentist even if you have the right equipment.

If you have issues with the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth, visit your dentist to have teeth cleaning performed.