CURRENT COVID PROTOCOL STATUS: Effective April 3rd, 2023, the Washington State Department of Health will end the masking requirements in healthcare. You may choose to wear a mask in our office if you prefer. As usual if you are experience ANY symptoms related to COVID-19 or have been in contact with anyone that has been exposed or tested positive, we ask that you do not come into our office at this time. Symptomps may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you any of these symptoms, you may have COVID-19. As always for the safety of you and the health of those around you we encourage you to be tested.
Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s The Difference?
We often get the question from our patients, “What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?”
Many people think they are the same thing. There is an important difference between the two, however, and it can help explain just why a daily oral hygiene routine is so crucial, as well as twice-yearly visits to your dentist.
What Is Plaque?
Dental plaque is that soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and under your gums throughout the day. And guess what? It contains millions of bacteria! When you eat—especially carbohydrates or sugar—you’re not the only one getting a meal, so are the bacteria on your teeth. After “eating,” these bacteria produce acids that erode your tooth enamel and cause cavities.
That’s why good daily oral hygiene is essential to preventing tooth decay and protecting your smile from the bacteria in plaque. To prevent plaque buildup, remember to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can also help!
What Is Tartar?
So if that’s plaque, what’s tartar? Tartar is what accumulates on your teeth when plaque is not removed. If plaque is left on your teeth for too long, it will harden into tartar and is much more difficult to remove. In fact, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional–you can’t get rid of it with regular brushing and flossing. Tartar removal is one of the reasons that visiting your dentist every six months is so important!
Plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities. It can cause tooth discoloration and sensitivity as well as gum recession and periodontal disease. To reduce plaque buildup and tartar from forming, make sure you are brushing and flossing daily.
Come And See Us Every Six Months
No matter how great your oral hygiene is, plaque and tartar formation are inevitable. So come in to see us every six months! Our job is to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that’s plaque- and tarter-free!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.