Plaque and Tartar: The Differences that Matter

Did you know plaque and tartar create gum disease, the serious and dangerous dental issue that can damage your smile and oral health? Well, it’s true, but what’s the difference between the two substances? Well, even though they both promote gum disease, they are completely different. To help you know more about these harmful particles, our Bull City Dental dental team has the following information for you:

–Plaque: Plaque is a white, sticky film that is made of leftover food particles, bacteria, and saliva that mix in your mouth. It tends to cling to your teeth without you even noticing. If it is able to build up on your teeth, it begins to irritate your gums. This is called gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. When your gums are irritated, they tend to bleed and swell when you brush and floss. Another symptom of gingivitis is chronic bad breath.

–Tartar: Tartar is also known as calculus and it is the hardened form of plaque. Tartar occurs when the plaque is left untreated. Once tartar forms, your gums tend to move away from the teeth, which will form pockets of infection. Then, the bacteria from the tartar will spread to the underlying bone and will start to deteriorate it. Eventually, if it’s left untreated, it can result in loose and lost teeth. This is the second stage of gum disease known as periodontitis.

It’s best to prevent the growth of plaque and tartar by keeping up on oral hygiene daily and visiting your dentist, Dr. Audrey Kemp, every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. If you do these things, there is a high chance you’ll prevent gum disease and even tooth decay. To learn more about plaque and tartar in Durham, North Carolina, please call our office at 919-680-3531 at your earliest convenience. We are more than happy to help you!

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