There are some key differences between plaque and tartar, and it’s easy for your dentist in The Woodlands to tell them apart. However, how different are these two things that sound awfully similar to each other? Well, the truth is, they’re not that different, but they can affect your teeth in different ways.
A Closer Look at Plaque & Tartar
Plaque and tartar are similar in the sense that they’re both essentially the same thing, just in different stages. You see, plaque is the sticky film that builds up on our teeth throughout the day. It happens to everyone and it’s usually removed through morning and nighttime brushings. However, when plaque is not removed, it will harden into tartar. Both plaque and tartar can lead to other serious problems throughout the mouth.
Problems with Plaque & Tartar
We already know that if plaque isn’t removed it will harden into tartar. But there are other ways plaque buildup can affect oral health. Plaque is made up of millions of bacteria, and we eat, we’re not only fueling our bodies… we’re also feeding these bacteria. As a byproduct, these bacteria release acid. This acid can wear down tooth enamel and leave them exposed and at greater risk for cavities. But that’s not all. When plaque is allowed to harden into tartar, it’s no longer able to be removed through at-home brushings. Your dentist in The Woodlands will need to step in to remove tartar before it has a chance to further affect oral health. Tartar has been known to also increase the risk of cavities as well as tooth discoloration, tooth sensitivity, and even gum disease. If gum disease develops, it can snowball into all sorts of problems such as tooth loss and even heart disease.
How to Prevent and Remove Plaque & Tartar
The best way to prevent tartar in the first place is by removing plaque. After all, without plaque, tartar can’t form. Make sure you follow a good oral hygiene routine at home every day to reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth. Brush each morning and every night for at least two minutes and floss at least once daily. Outside of good oral hygiene, you can also help protect yourself from the damaging effects of plaque by eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding sugary sweets. Additionally, try your best to drink plenty of water throughout the day, limit snacking in between meals, and chew sugar-free gum after any meals where you can’t brush your teeth.
Of course, it’s always important to see your dentist in The Woodlands at least twice a year to get a checkup and remove any tartar that may have built up since your last visit. Your dental team may also be able to tell where tartar tends to pop up so you can pay closer attention to those spots while brushing in between dental appointments.
Plaque and tartar buildup happens to everyone, but as long as you take good care of your teeth and see your dentist regularly, your risk of developing cavities or other oral health problems decreases. If you’re overdue for a checkup, call our dental office in The Woodlands to schedule an appointment.