Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s The Difference?

fun fYou’ve probably heard of these two troublemakers before. As we all strive to keep these guys away and off our teeth, we want to establish exactly what they are, how they affect your oral hygiene, and how to tell the difference if you’ve been slacking on your teeth-cleaning program.

First, lets talk plaque. It builds up around the gum line and takes form of a sticky, colorless, soft substance. It is made up of food particles and saliva that form into a film of bacteria.This is the culprit for cavities due to the acid it contains. Plaque also causes the gums to bleed if you are brushing or flossing! So it is best to keep an eye out for this pest and have it stay clear from any buildup on your teeth. If not, it can eventually harden into tartar if it isn’t removed each day.

Now, let’s talk tartar. Tartar, which is hardened plaque, takes form of a yellow, yellowish-brown color and is hard, porous, and crusty. It is hard because it comes from the mineral deposits in saliva. This bad guy can not only cause cavities, but also gum disease and tooth loss. So you’d most definitely want to avoid tartar buildup at all times!

So now how do you actually remove these burdens from your precious chompers? Plaque can simply be removed by brushing, flossing, and rinsing on a daily basis. Tartar, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to get rid of. You would need surgery to remove any if it has has formed below the gum line. To prevent any of this from happening, the best solution would be to use tartar-control toothpaste while brushing and flossing vigilantly.