What are Plaque and Tartar?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that naturally forms on our teeth each day. The bacteria in plaque can react with the sugars and starches in the food we eat, resulting in an acid that gradually dissolves tooth enamel. This process, if not stopped, will result in tooth decay and the eventual destruction of the tooth.
While plaque can be removed with proper brushing and flossing, any plaque that is missed will harden into tartar. Tartar, or dental calculus, cannot be removed by brushing; it requires special tools used by dentists in order to be safely eliminated.
The acids produced by plaque and tartar can do more than just damage teeth enamel. They can irritate gums, resulting in redness and bleeding. As this progresses into gum disease, the gums will begin to pull away from the teeth, and the tissue and bones holding the teeth in place will begin to break down.
This is why good home care and regular professional dental cleanings are needed in order to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Diet can also help slow down the development of plaque by avoiding sticky and sugary foods that may result in sugar staying on your teeth for long periods of time.