Common Oral Problems: Plaque and Tartar

best dentists in Dallas CountyMaintaining good oral health is an important component to living a healthy lifestyle. The health of your mouth is connected to the health of your entire body. The most common contributors to oral problems and dental conditions are substances called plaque and tartar. The best dentists in our community explain.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a semi-translucent and sticky substance that coats teeth. Your mouth, at any given moment, is full of oral bacteria. When you consume starches and sugars, bacteria feed off them because they are a food source. As bacteria feed and colonize, they release acid as a by-product and ultimately form plaque. A particular strain of bacteria called streptococci mutans, and subsequently plaque coating the teeth contributes to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because plaque can irritate the gums and wear down tooth enamel, patients should practice proper oral hygiene to remove as much plaque as possibly every day.

What is tartar?

Tartar is hardened plaque. It is formed by calculus coming in contact with unremoved plaque. Unlike plaque, however, tartar cannot be removed by brushing or flossing because it is such a hard substance. If not removed by routine professional dental cleanings, tartar will build up along the gum line, eventually under the gums, and along the roots of teeth. Tartar not only inflames and irritates gums, it causes them to recede and pull away from teeth. As gums become diseased and recede, teeth lack support and will eventually become loose if patients do not receive professional treatment from a dentist.

How do I protect my teeth and gums from tartar and plaque?

The best way to protect your oral health is to commit to good oral hygiene and regular visits to our dental practice. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Additionally, you should visit our office every six months for professional cleanings and once a year for a comprehensive examination.

To reserve an appointment, contact the office of any of our top dentists at your convenience.