Dental Hygiene for Plaque and Tartar (Calculus) Control
Two important dental hygiene issues are plaque and tartar control. As they are often confused, read on to learn the difference of the two, and how to control them.
Plaque is a colorless, sticky deposit of bacteria that forms naturally on, and in between, the teeth. It not only forms on the teeth, but also above and below the gum line. The buildup of plaque can cause the gum tissue to become irritated and inflamed. Along with the sensitivity caused from the buildup, the gums are red and inflamed, or may even bleed after brushing your teeth. The buildup of plaque can develop into cavities and gum disease. Prevention of the buildup of plaque is quite simple! Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth at home is the best practice.
When plaque remains on the teeth, it hardens and tartar is formed. This can occur in as little as 26 hours. Tartar can form on the tooth, or underneath the gum line, causing irritation in the gum tissues. A common sign of tartar are yellow or brown stains to the teeth. Since tartar creates a strong bond to the teeth, it is much more difficult to remove than plaque. Once tartar has formed on the tooth, a dentist can only remove it. The best practice for tartar prevention is regular visits to the dentist, approximately every six months.
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