The Difference Between Plaque and Tartar

One of the prime questions many dentists in Pacoima get is what is the difference between plaque and tartar. It’s a word that is thrown around in the dentist office during cleanings and many people think that they are the same thing. However, this is actually very different, and because of this, you might realize that your oral hygiene is very important as well as your biannual visits to the dentists as well. You want to make sure that you do this, and understanding the difference can help you.

Now, what is plaque. Simply put, plaque in your mouth is a film that is sticky. It can build up on your teeth and your gums throughout the day. This may seem like nothing, but guess what, there are millions of bacteria in this. Whenever you eat something, especially anything with high carbs and sugar, you’re not giving a meal to yourself, you’re giving a meal to bacteria on your teeth. After you eat, the bacteria will feed on this, and then it will produce the acids that will erode your enamel and then give you cavities.

This is why having good oral hygiene is important to getting rid of tooth decay and giving your smile the best treatment that it can have from bacteria in the plaque that you have. This is why it’s encouraged to brush at least twice a day and flossing once a day. If you drink water and have sugar-free gum after your snacks and meals, you’ll be able to help prevent this plaque from building up as well.

Now, what about tartar? You’ve learned all about plaque, but what is tartar. Essentially, tartar is what you have on your teeth if you don’t remove the plaque by brushing and flossing. If it is left on your teeth for too long, it will then start to harden into tartar. This is what a dental professional is able to remove, and they’re the only ones that can remove it. You can’t get rid of it by brushing and flossing. Simply put, if you have a lot of time at the dentist spent on cleaning, that means you’ve got a lot of tartar. This is also why you should go see the dentist every six months, and why it’s so important.

Now, plaque will harden and cause this, and it’s more than just cavities. It can cause the discoloration of teeth, and sensitivity as well. Gum recession and gum disease is often another problem as well that forms because of this. You should work to prevent this however, and you can do so via brushing and flossing. If you realize just what you are doing to your teeth, the potential damage that comes about if you don’t take care of this, you’ll be able to have better dental hygiene practices and a much better sort of means of surviving. You’ll be able to protect your mouth health, which is very important as well.

That’s why you should see your Pacoima dentist at least twice a year. Remember, no matter how good you are at brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar will be there. Whether you have a lot or very little depends on how well you brush and floss, but it will always be there. You should make sure that you see the dentist to help you have a beautiful, and healthy sort of smile that is not filled with plaque and tartar. Plus, if you take care of this now, you’ll be able to prevent future problems from happening as well.


You owe it to yourself to have these problems taken care of right away, and understanding the difference between these two is integral to the future of your oral health. By making sure that you take the time and learn this, realizing the difference, and applying it to your own oral routine and health, not only will you have a brighter and more winning smile, but you will also feel even more amazing about your health. Do it now, make sure that you have the time and effort to put it forward there just continue to take care of your teeth.


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