tooth brushesYou’ve probably heard the terms plaque and tartar, but if you’re not entirely sure on the difference between the two, don’t worry! You aren’t alone.

Plaque and tartar are distinct, but they do have a lot of similarities. Both are caused by a buildup of bacteria, and neither is good to have on your teeth. Once you have the two terms straight, you will likely have a better understanding of why it’s so important to keep your 6-month dental check-ups.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a white, sticky film that gathers on the surface of your teeth throughout the day. The film is made up of broken-down food particles, bacteria, and acids excreted by the bacteria as they feed on the particles. Over time, that acid eats away at your enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease.

Brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and visiting your dentist twice a year are the three most important habits for a healthy smile. Drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals are two other great habits to get into, though they’re no substitute for brushing and flossing!

What is Tartar?

If plaque sits in your mouth for an extended period of time, it hardens into tartar. The main difference between plaque and tartar is that plaque is much easier to remove. Unfortunately, tartar can only be removed by a professional, so it’s one of the reasons why you should prioritize your 6-month appointments.

Excess tartar left in your mouth could lead to issues like:

  • Gum disease
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth sensitivity

However, if you brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist for your cleanings, you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months

We’re always happy when you come and visit us in our office! Even though your company is lovely, it’s not the only reason we’re always telling you to stop by every 6 months.

During your 6-month dental check-up, your dentist will examine your gums and teeth, searching for any indicators of excess tartar, and your hygienist will conduct a deep cleaning to remove any buildup. The longer tartar stays on your teeth, the higher the liklihood it will cause damage, so it isn’t a good idea to skip your cleanings!

Posted In: Dental Hygiene