Fighting plaque and tartar is a lifelong challenge. But what exactly are these dental conditions? People often confuse the two, but it’s important to learn their differences, and how to choose the right toothpaste.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that is constantly present on teeth. Plaque develops when the bacteria in your mouth stick to your teeth and begin to grow. It builds up daily, and when not removed with regular brushing, can become a cause of cavities and gum disease. The more sugar that’s in your food, the more quickly the bacteria can grow into acidic, enamel-weakening plaque, which is why sugary foods and drinks are so closely related to cavities.
What are the effects of plaque?
A buildup of plaque can lead to unpleasant results. It can trap stains on teeth, and when not removed, can also irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to redness, swelling and bleeding (gingivitis), and even periodontal disease and tooth loss. Since visible plaque forms 4 to 12 hours after brushing, it’s important to maintain a twice-daily brushing routine . That way, you stay ahead of the curve.
How does plaque-control toothpaste work?
It’s all about science. Look for a toothpaste that says it is indicated for anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis. Anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, antibacterial, or antimicrobial agents reduce bacterial count and inhibit bacterial activity that can cause gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.
Can Chewing Gum Help To Control Plaque
As long as it’s sugarless, chewing gum can help prevent tooth decay. When you chew, it causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps neutralize and rinse away some of the acid that forms in your mouth when you break down food.
So when you chew gum after a meal, you’re also helping protect your teeth and promoting good oral health.
What Is Tartar?
When plaque hardens, it transforms into tartar. And when that happens, only a dental professional can remove it. Tartar, also called calculus, is a crusty discoloration that also traps stains and leads to even greater discoloration. It also creates a strong bond to enamel that can only be removed with the specialized tools of a dental professional. Chances are you’ve already experienced tartar removal first hand, so you know the less there is, the better.
How do tartar control toothpastes work?
It’s important to stay proactive by using toothpaste specifically designed to control tartar buildup. While only a professional cleaning can remove tartar after it hardens, you can create a protective barrier to help prevent it from forming in the first place.
Look for a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphate or polyphosphate, such as Crest Tartar Protection or Crest Pro-Health Toothpastes as these types of ingredients are clinically proven to inhibit tartar.
i “Plaque and Tartar Control.” Retrieved October 3, 2011 from http://www.dentalcare.com/en-US/dental-education/patient-education/plaque-english.aspx