Plaque and Tartar: The Difference and What You Can Do About Them

WL REALLY yellow teeth

You’ve undoubtedly heard about plaque and tartar, but do you know what to do about them (if anything)? Each word carries more than one meaning. Along with being a dental malady, something called cream of tartar is also an element used in cooking and baking. Plaque is also something you hang proudly no your wall. Not so when it comes to your teeth.

Today’s blog will describe the dental varieties of tartar and plaque and what you can do about both.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a colorless film that forms on the surfaces of your teeth. This sticky stuff can also form between teeth and along the gum line. It worst cases it shows up below the gum line on the roots of teeth.

The film we’re describing consists of bacteria as well as skin cells (epithelial), proteins and other substances.  If you run over your teeth with your tongue you might feel plaque as a fuzzy sort of texture, most noticeable when you haven’t recently brushed your teeth.

In as quickly as 12 or so hours, tooth plaque can begin accumulating continuously after brushing and flossing. Our job is to control the buildup of plaque.

Plaque is a soft film that can be scraped off with your fingernail or by rubbing with a cloth. However, failing to remove plaque in 48 hours allows it to harden into a substance called tartar, and the game becomes more challenging.

What is Tartar?

If plaque is not removed by thorough brushing and flossing, after about ten days, it  becomes tartar. Tartar is a very hard substance and very difficult to remove. Tartar is also called calculus. Sometimes tartar needs to be dug out with sharp dental equipment (by a dental professional!) In some cases if left to accumulate for too long, tartar must be surgically (and painfully) removed.

Your best bet is to deal with plaque head-on and to control its buildup in the early stages. It pays to take care of your teeth!

Dangers of Plaque

Plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay. It can lead to cavities and periodontal disease, such as gingivitis. Gingivitis is gum disease. If left to build up on the roots of teeth, plaque can erode the bone beneath the gums. (See paragraph above).

Good oral hygiene is essential in the war on plaque. Do NOT allow it to harden. Along with the very serious health implications, it can also lead to bad breath. Have you ever been close up in the face of someone with horrific breath? They don’t realize their breath smells like a sewer, do they? When it comes to your own breath, YOU won’t either.

Teeth Whitening at Home

Whitening Lightning (home teeth whitening products) endorses proper oral hygiene for many reasons. The control of plaque and tartar are the most important. The second is restoring the lustre to your teeth after years of discoloration. Teeth whitening begins with good oral hygiene. To see where you’re starting the process, measure the color of your teeth by comparing it to the dial included with Dial A Smile and Zero teeth whitening systems.  Knowing where you’re starting will help you identify the results after your first treatment.

Knowing where you’re starting will help you identify the results after your first treatment. Most of our customers whiten 2-3 shades after their first go around. Some more than that! Each treatment takes only 20 minutes and each kit contains enough for 3 treatments.

Check us out! Visit and our blog today. Be sure to look for special deals. And be sure to brush and floss regularly!

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