If you’re in the habit of maintaining your regular dental checkups and cleanings (and we certainly hope you are!), you’ve probably come across the terms “tartar” and “plaque” during your visits to the dentist or hygienist. At Designing Smiles Dentistry, our friendly dentist aims to shed light on the significance of plaque and tartar in your oral health.
Let’s start by understanding plaque, that soft and sticky film that accumulates on our teeth. Plaque is a mixture of food particles, saliva, and various types of bacteria, with the American Dental Association identifying over 500 different bacterial species in plaque. Some of these bacteria are harmful, as they produce acids that can corrode the protective outer layer of your teeth, known as enamel. It’s important to note that enamel damage is irreversible, as it does not regenerate.
When plaque isn’t removed in a timely manner, it can solidify into tartar, also referred to as calculus by dental professionals. Tartar not only makes it more challenging to clean your teeth effectively, but it can also extend beneath the gum line, increasing the risk of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can lead to gum recession and tooth mobility.
Plaque can be effectively removed from your teeth by following a robust oral hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth at least twice daily, daily flossing, and reducing or eliminating sugary foods and beverages from your diet. However, tartar can only be eliminated by your dentist.
The key takeaway is that the detrimental effects of plaque and tartar are entirely preventable as long as you adhere to the simple steps outlined above and maintain regular checkups and cleanings with our dentist at Designing Smiles Dentistry. We invite you to reach out to our office today to schedule an appointment. Your oral health is our priority.