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What Are Plaque and Tartar?

Above all, you want to practice good oral health to maintain your tooth enamel. At Dr. Michael J. Casey, DDS, located in Waterford, WI, Dr. Michael Casey, and Dr. Mary Lenz are your local family dentist and resident experts in preventing plaque and tarter.

What is Plaque?

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds on your teeth when bacteria mix with saliva and food. We all have plaque on our teeth.

In fact, according to the American Dental Association, plaque consists of more than 500 species of both good and bad bacteria for your mouth.

When you have harmful bacteria on your teeth, it produces acids after you eat or drink. This is especially true when you consume something sugary, and the acids attack the enamel of your teeth, leading to more serious issues for both your oral and overall health.

If the plague is left unremoved, it can harden your teeth and turn them into tartar. The buildup of plaque and tartar leads to your gums becoming tender and swollen, and a sign of early staged periodontal or gum disease.

There are many ways to prevent plaque buildup, and it is essential to:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Limit sugary food and drinks
  • Keep up routine visits and cleanings with your dentist
What is Tartar?

If you want to prevent tartar, it is best to maintain good oral hygiene. In addition, you want to follow a daily protocol of brushing and flossing so that plaque does not sit on your teeth longer than necessary.

Tarter, also known as calculus, occurs when the minerals in your saliva progress. Tartar affects the exterior of your teeth and settles below your gumline. This accumulation makes it difficult to clean your teeth properly.

If tartar spreads below the gum line, a family dentist like Dr. Casey or Dr. Lenz, in Waterford, WI, will need to remove it to prevent gum disease.

What is the Difference Between Tartar and Plaque?

Both tarter and plaque cause dental health problems, but there are critical differences between tartar and plaque.

Plaque builds up gradually on your teeth throughout the day with eating and drinking. You can remove plaque on your teeth before it hardens into the plaque by brushing and flossing.

Other differences include:

  • Plaque is a fuzzy feeling on your teeth, and tartar feels rough or has a yellow-brown appearance.
  • Plaque is removed with brushing and flossing, while tarter must be removed by a dental professional.

Plaque buildup that sits for a long time can lead to tartar forming on your teeth, and that can lead to gum disease. If you are ready to learn more, please call Dr. Michael Casey and Dr. Lenz at their office in Waterford, WI, for your family dentist appointment by calling (262) 534-6515.