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Plaque vs. Tartar - What Is the Difference?


Posted on 2/2/2024 by Weo Admin
Photo of scaling and root planing done at Cooley Smiles in Lynnwood, WAMaintaining good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy smile. At the forefront of dental care are two notorious culprits - plaque and tartar. Here, we delve into the differences between these dental adversaries to better comprehend their impact on our oral well-being.

What Is Plaque?


Plaque is a soft film that forms on teeth due to bacteria mixing with saliva and food. It contains hundreds of bacteria, some good and some bad. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can remove plaque.

What Is Tartar?


Plaque hardens and forms tartar if not removed from teeth. Tartar traps stains, discolors teeth, and causes gum disease. Unlike plaque, tartar can not be removed by brushing and flossing, so professional help is necessary to prevent tooth damage.

What Causes Dental Plaque and Tartar?


The primary cause of dental plaque and tartar is poor oral hygiene. Consuming sugary and starchy foods accelerates plaque formation, especially if proper brushing and flossing are neglected. Other contributing factors include dry mouth, smoking habits, excessive sugar intake, and a history of neck or head radiation.

How To Treat Plaque and Tartar Buildup


Maintaining a rigorous oral care routine is paramount in preventing the development of plaque and tartar. However, seeking professional dental advice is crucial when these issues become more severe.

Dentists may suggest treatments for plaque and tartar. These can include fluoride to fight decay, medications for dry mouth, dental mouthwash, and sealants to prevent plaque. Consulting with a dentist will ensure a tailored approach to manage and treat these oral concerns effectively.

Tartar or Plaque: The Lesser Evil?


Tartar is more challenging to remove and can lead to severe issues if left untreated, such as gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth infections. However, it is crucial to note that tartar results from untreated, hardened plaque. If not regularly removed, plaque can damage tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental care are essential in preventing the harmful effects. If you need guidance on managing plaque or tartar buildup, book a visit with our dentist.

Get in Touch!


PHONE
(425) 569-4545

EMAIL
lynnwood@cooleysmiles.com

LOCATION
19505 76th Ave. West Suite # 100
Lynnwood, WA 98036-5045





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