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What are plaque and tartar?

What are plaque and tartar?


Plaque is a sticky clear film forms on teeth. This film is filled with germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Tartar; however, is plaque that has hardened to your teeth and like plaque, tartar is also filled with germs.


Gum disease may lead to loose teeth


Overtime, tartar builds up under the gum line, making the gums red and puffy, causing the gums to bleed easily. This kind of gum disease is known as gingivitis.


What are the signs of gum problems?


You can’t always see or feel the signs of gum disease; however, the common signs are:

• Gums that are red, puffy or bleed easily.

• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.

• Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

• Pus that comes out from the gums.

If the gums are not treated, the bone holding the teeth into the mouth can be destroyed. Teeth may become loose or change position and may need to be removed.


How can I prevent plaque, tartar and loose teeth?


The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and flossing between your teeth every day. Brushing removes plaque from the teeth and you should brush your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled brush using toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Cleaning between the teeth every day with floss removes plaque from areas where the toothbrush cannot reach. Once tartar has formed only your hygienist or dentist can remove it and this should be done at least every six months.