Plaque vs. Tartar: What's Their Difference?

Plaque vs. Tartar: What's Their Difference?

I think it's safe to say that we've all asked this question before, "What is the difference between plaque and tartar?" Some people even thought that they're the same thing. Some are even confused about the two. But in actuality, they are different. However, they have something in common. They are just results of poor dental hygiene. 

To completely understand these two, I'll try to break them down the difference between them. So, continue reading below.

What Exactly is Plaque?

Do you see that sticky, yellowish film that builds upon the surface of your teeth if you forgot to brush them? That's plaque right there. Naturally, plaque slowly builds up right after we eat, drink, and salivate. What makes them gross is that they're filled with thousands or millions of bacteria. 

Usually, they start off to build up at the gum line, and if they aren't removed, it could cause gum disease, gingivitis is pretty common. The bacteria found in plaque, when exposed to food leftovers and saliva, they release acids. And, where does this acid go? To your teeth and gum. 

This acid released by the bacteria causes damage to your enamel and gums. It can cause cavities, infections, and gum disease if not removed. In a nutshell, plaque slowly eats up your teeth every day. You thought that yellowish film was harmless. Well, you're pretty wrong. Click here to learn how to keep your gums healthy in 6 simple ways. 

Regular brushing and flossing will prevent plaque build-up. So, now you have a full understanding of why you should brush your teeth regularly. 

What is Tartar?

Tartar or also known as dental calculus is pretty much similar to plaque but harder. Do you see crusty and hard stains on your gum line and between your teeth? That my friend is a tartar. They tend to get discolored if left untouched. 

If you already have severe tartar build-up, brushing and flossing wouldn't cut it. You may need to visit your dentist to have it removed. It doesn't though, but it does hurt your pocket, I tell you that. Tartar build-up also makes it for you to remove plaque and bacteria off your teeth. And, that's where your problem starts. 

Each of us varies greatly in our susceptibility to plaque and tartar. Maybe it could be food, oral hygiene, or something else. But one is sure; tartar builds up faster as we grow old. 

One thing is still not clear; how does tartar build-up? Well, you see, if plaque isn't removed completely after you brush your teeth, the minerals found in your saliva mix in with the plaque to create the tartar you see on your teeth. 

That is why brushing alone doesn't cut it. You have to floss your teeth one a day. It doesn't matter when or where. Just make sure that you floss every day.

Simple Tips to Prevent Plaque and Tartar Build-Up

  • Make regular visits to your dentist for a checkup. 
  • Brush your teeth twice a day, include your tongue and cheeks too.
  • Use fluoride fortified and anti-plaque toothpaste.
  • Make sure to floss every day.
  • Avoid smoking and overconsumption of alcohol.
  • Don't forget to replace your toothbrush every three months, or until they start to fray.

Last Words

One thing is clear about these two; they are a result of poor dental hygiene. These two can be prevented with proper brushing and flossing for the teeth. I highly suggest that you should. For more informational topics like this one, stay tuned to our blog series. Until next time.


Leave a comment