It shouldn’t be a surprise that plaque and tartar buildup have negative effects on our oral health. And while most people know what plaque and tartar are, they are often surprised to find out what causes plaque and tartar and what you can do to prevent both from occurring.
Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria on the surface of our teeth. Plaque bacteria is unavoidable, and it constantly active on our teeth. The foods we eat, what we drink and our own saliva contribute to the growth of plaque. Plaque is the primary cause of cavities and gum disease.
So if dental plaque is ever-present, what can we do to prevent it from damaging our teeth? Proper oral care including regular brushing and flossing is your first line of defense in preventing plaque buildup. Make sure to clean all surfaces of your teeth, including those in the back. Avoid sugary or starchy snacks, especially those that tend to stick in your teeth.
Regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and examinations are an important step in preventing plaque buildup. Have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months and discuss any problems you may be having with your dentist.
Tartar occurs when plaque hardens and forms a crusty deposit on your teeth and above and below the gum line. Tartar can only be removed in the dentist’s office during a professional cleaning, but you can take steps to control tartar buildup on your teeth.
Tartar buildup can be reduced by brushing and flossing. Taking steps to control plaque can prevent tartar buildup, including avoiding sweet snacks and sugary drinks. Existing tartar will be removed when you visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning, and this will prevent it from becoming severe.
Plaque is a bacteria that leads to cavities and gum disease, and tartar makes it easier for plaque to damage our teeth. And while plaque is colorless, tartar often stains teeth yellow or brown. Tartar can also irritate your gum line, making it painful to properly take care of your teeth.
Plaque and tartar put you at greater risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Brushing and flossing can control plaque and tartar buildup, but only a trip to the dentist can actually remove the tartar that has formed on your teeth.
If you have ever had your teeth cleaned in a dentist’s office, you are familiar with how plaque and tartar is removed. Special tools used during dental scaling remove plaque and tartar from the gum line and crown of your teeth. For most people, tartar can be controlled with regular cleanings and checkups.
If you have a significant amount of plaque and tartar buildup, as is common with those who haven’t visited the dentist for a while, a procedure called debridement may be necessary. If plaque and tartar are obscuring the surface of the teeth, it will need to be removed before the dentist can examine your teeth.
Debridement uses water and vibration to loosen and remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. This may irritate sensitive gums and it can cause pain, especially if your gums are already irritated or if the tartar is concealing other problems with your teeth. Your dentist may offer anesthesia for the procedure.
If you are interested in controlling plaque and tartar, you should talk to your dentist to ensure you are doing all that you can to maintain a healthy smile. If you have additional questions about preventing plaque and tartar buildup or would like to schedule an appointment please call Smiles 4 Kids. Discuss your oral health routine, the products you use, and any problems that may currently exist. Of course, visiting the dentist twice a year is also a necessary step in removing tartar buildup.