Plaque, Tartar, And Your Teeth

PLAQUE AND TARTAR are two words that you probably hear a lot when you come in for a dental cleaning. You might already know that they cause tooth decay and gum disease, but do you know what they are? Let’s take a closer look at these two substances that are a constant threat to our oral health.

Stage 1: Plaque

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky, colorless biofilm composed of bacteria, food particles, and saliva. It builds up on and between our teeth and beneath our gums every day. If you’ve ever forgotten to brush in the morning or at night, you’ve probably felt that unpleasant texture with your tongue.

Plaque contains millions of bacteria, and this bacteria digests leftover sugars and starches from the food we eat, then excretes acid onto our teeth. Because plaque is soft, it can be removed with simple brushing and flossing, but we have to be thorough and diligent to get as much of it as possible.

Stage 2: Tartar

The reason it’s so important to scrub away the plaque is that when plaque is allowed to sit on the teeth too long, it becomes tartar. Tartar is a hard, yellow or brown substance that bonds to tooth enamel and can only be removed at a professional cleaning appointment.

How does this transformation happen? When the acid excreted by oral bacteria comes into contact with minerals in our saliva, it causes a chemical reaction that hardens the plaque into tartar. The risk of tartar buildup is higher for people with braces, dry mouth, crowded teeth, or a smoking habit, and it also increases with age.

Keeping Plaque And Tartar Under Control

A rigorous oral hygiene routine, paired with regular professional cleanings, is the best way to control the plaque in your mouth and prevent it from hardening into tartar. Here are some of the things a good routine should include:

Win The Battle For Your Dental Health

It might seem discouraging to think that plaque will creep back up throughout the day even after you brush and floss thoroughly. A better perspective is that it only takes a few minutes each morning and night to win the daily battle against plaque and tartar, and you can improve the odds for your teeth even more with regular dental visits!

Together, we can keep those teeth plaque and tartar free!

You Might Also Enjoy...

Top 7 Not-So-Obvious Signs of An Abscessed Tooth

Some of the most obvious signs of a dental abscess are tooth pain, combined with temperature and pressure sensitivity. However, some symptoms aren’t as easy to pinpoint and can make you think something else is going on.

Using A Water Flosser vs. Traditional Floss

Using traditional flossing string to clean between your teeth is a very simple, yet highly effective method that works. A water flosser from our Encino, California dentist, is an oral irrigation system that flushes debris out from between your teeth.

Making the Most of Your Dental Insurance

Right now is a great time to safely see the dentist. Plus, your dental insurance covers most preventative care services at 100%. By taking advantage of your included benefits, you can schedule your exam and cleaning to intercept common dental issues early.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Oral Health?

Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a condition in which excess tissue in the back of your throat blocks your airway during sleep, causing you to stop breathing. This condition has many side-effects.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Bottle Rot

AS PEDIATRIC DENTAL care experts, our top priority is good dental health in our young patients. Today, we want to focus on protecting kids’ teeth from something called “bottle rot.”