The oral anatomy is prone to the presence and buildup of bacteria. Failing to combat this biological process is the most common harbinger of cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and eventual tooth loss. Of course, the best strategy to eradicate this frequent buildup is through effective and frequent oral care habits.
Many patients remain unaware of what plaque and calculus are and how dangerous they may be left to their own devices. Let’s go over their distinctions, how to prevent their formation, and why it’s so crucial to your oral health to do so!
What is Plaque
Plaque is the gummy and transparent film which forms along your teeth and gumline. This substance consists of natural bacteria forming with proteins and food particles present in the mouth. Allowing plaque to rest and spread along your teeth and gums empower its bacteria to attack your teeth’s enamel. This can and will result in cavities; while even comprising your overall tooth structure and contributing to gum disease if left unchecked.
It’s quite simple, plaque can generally be removed by regularly and extensively brushing and flossing your teeth. Teeth should be thoroughly brushed at least twice a day, ideally after eating, while flossing is a highly recommended activity that should be performed daily! Utilizing mouthwash contributes in the elimination of harmful oral bacteria, as well as adopting a healthy diet that avoid excessive amounts of sugar and starches.
What Is Calculus
Also referred to as tartar, calculus refers to the solidified plaque which cakes the teeth. Calculus, unlike its predecessor, cannot be removed by conventional brushing and flossing. With plaque not being removed over time, it hardens over time and binds into the very structure of the tooth! This is a more serious situation, and can only be remedied by a thorough dental cleaning! If left unchecked, calculus could lead to tooth decay, serious periodontal (gum) disease, and receding gums.
As mentioned above, it remains only feasible for a dental professional to remove the calculus thanks to specialized equipment and expertise! Deep cleanings consist of identifying and scraping away the calculus, while also smoothing down the tooth structure which was once caked in tartar. Afterwards, patients are encouraged to fully commit to practicing the aforementioned oral care habits which remain crucial to blockading the development of calculus… brush and floss!
Stopping Plaque from Progressing
If left unchecked for long enough, pesky plaque can evolve into more threatening tartar. Stopping calculus from forming is not a complex matter- just strive to stop as much plaque from forming as possible. Engrave these tips into both your minds and routine, and you will surely maintain a smile absent of both excess plaque and eventual calculus:
- Brush at least twice a day, especially after meals.
- Floss daily, ideally at night time.
- Commit to routine dental checkups, usually once every 6 months.
- Drink water to ensure you’re hydrated! A moist mouth is ideal to combat bacteria.
- Limit sugar and starch intake.
- Avoid the use of all tobacco products! Both smoking and chewing.
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