At EON Clinics, we are keen to help all our patients and those across Chicagoland preserve their dental health. Many of our patients ask us what the difference between plaque and tartar is (two common dental problems that are often confused or misunderstood). A clear idea of what plaque and tartar are can help you prevent, and be ready to treat any signs of their presence. You will learn more about these common ailments that can truly impact your dental health. Get ready to fight plaque and tartar and preserve your beautiful smile!
What is Plaque?
Plaque builds up around the gum line and is formed of food debris and bacteria that feed on food deposits, particularly those containing sugar. This sticky, colorless substance may be impossible to see but can cause great damage to your teeth. The bacteria produces an acid that can cause cavities, tooth pain, periodontal disease or gum diseases such as gingivitis. If you suffer from bleeding gums it could be a sign of gum disease and you should make visiting your dentist a priority, as gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Fortunately, plaque is easily preventable with a good dental hygiene routine. If you are committed to brushing your teeth twice daily, in the morning and at night, and flossing every day, plaque should not be a major concern for you.
What is Tartar?
Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is the buildup of plaque that has not been removed. It is quite different to plaque in appearance and is often considered unsightly. Tartar is a hard, yellow or brown substance that cannot be easily removed. It develops when minerals in your saliva and plaque left on your teeth react. Tartar can cause tooth discoloration, tooth loss, cavities, gum recession and gum disease. Daily removal of plaque can prevent the development of tartar altogether.
Plaque and Tartar Prevention And Treatment
As mentioned above, plaque can be removed daily by simply brushing and flossing your teeth. With twice daily plaque removal, you should be able to prevent plaque from developing into tartar. Limiting sugar intake can also help prevent plaque build-up. Visiting your dental hygienist for professional cleaning, twice a year, is another important and highly recommended aspect of your dental care routine.
Tartar is much more difficult to remove, and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. If you believe you have tartar developing on your teeth, it is essential you visit a dentist as soon as possible. Without proper removal, tartar will continue to build up and worsen. However, tartar is not something you’re necessarily stuck with forever. A dentist or hygienist can remove tartar by scaling it. In more serious cases, surgery may be needed.
Rebuilding Your Smile
If you have suffered from tooth loss caused by plaque or tartar, we can help rebuild your smile. We want to give everyone the confidence a full, beautiful smile can bring. We specialize in providing our patients with natural looking and naturally functioning dental implants. Dental implants can be used to replace single teeth, multiple teeth or whole jaw sets of teeth. If you’re in need of a tooth replacement solution that is reliable and easy to care for, EON Clinics can help.