Something lurks inside your mouth, waiting to take advantage of a skipped round of flossing, or an ignored toothbrush. What is it? It’s bacteria, silently making plaque and tartar. When enough of this goo and hard gunk accumulates along your gumline, the result is gum disease. What many people fail to realize is that gum disease is an infection, just like any other. It doesn’t make you cough or give you a runny nose, but it does cause your gums to bleed, your breath to stink and your teeth to fall out. Gum disease is completely preventable and treatable, but what are plaque and tartar and how can you defend yourself from them?
Plaque or Tartar — Which Comes First?
First comes plaque, then tartar. Plaque is essentially the bacterial reaction to saliva. As saliva tries to destroy bacteria, bacteria protect themselves with a sticky biofilm we call plaque. It coats your teeth and gives them a fuzzy feeling. One dentist describes it by saying “it feels like your teeth are wearing sweaters.” This buildup is only controlled by regular brushing and flossing, so the Yuba City Dental Group encourages all patients to do this twice daily to prevent dental problems.
Tartar, or calculus, is related to plaque, but is not the same. When plaque and saliva mix together, plaque hardens into tartar by calcifying. The longer plaque is allowed to stay on the teeth, the more tartar your teeth will have. Tartar is also controlled by a good daily oral care routine that includes the use of fluoride to kill more bacteria. When a patient visits the Yuba City Dental Group twice a year, our dental professionals give your teeth an extra boost by giving them a deeper clean than you can provide at home. This removes the tartar found on your gums and under the gumline.
If your gums are inflamed, swollen or bleeding, this means that bacteria, plaque and tartar are irritating your gums. Worsening gum disease, called periodontitis, develops if you don’t take immediate action. A healthy smile is possible despite the daily battle against plaque and tartar! Our Yuba City family dentists are here to assist you win the war against plaque and tartar buildup. Schedule an appointment today to start preventing gum disease by controlling plaque and tartar!