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Common Oral Health Problems: Plaque and Tartar

oral health Fort Worth

Daily brushing and flossing are your best defense against disease-causing surface debris called “plaque” and “tartar”. Plaque and tartar contribute to the development of gum disease and tooth decay. Removing daily plaque deposits with meticulous oral hygiene is necessary for preserving your oral health.


In addition to proper oral hygiene at home, it’s important to schedule professional cleanings and checkups with our dentist.


A byproduct of oral bacteria, plaque is a semi-translucent substance that coats teeth and gums. Most plaque is removable with adequate daily oral hygiene. Unremoved plaque, however, can contribute to oral health concerns such as gum disease and tooth decay.


Bacteria in plaque produce acids, which weakens and damages tooth enamel. Since enamel loss is permanent, this damage could cause cavities and increase the risk for teeth cracking and chipping. Bacteria in plaque also irritates and inflames the gingiva, which can lead to gingivitis.


Tartar is the hardened form of plaque. When plaque is not removed with brushing and flossing, it will calcify within a day or two after exposure to minerals in a person’s saliva. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed with brushing or flossing. It must be removed with special instruments by a dentist or dental hygienist.


Tartar forms where the gums meet teeth and as it accumulates, it will build up at the gum line. Tartar buildup contributes to classic symptoms of gum disease like periodontal inflammation and gum recession. Advanced gum disease is a serious threat to your oral health and requires professional care.

How to Keep Plaque and Tartar in Check

Controlling plaque and tartar requires performing proper oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth two to three times a day about 30 minutes after meals. Since brushing only cleans about 70% of your mouth, it’s necessary to floss daily, too.


In addition to proper home care, patients should limit consumption of acidic and sugary foods, drink plenty of water, and keep regular appointments for checkups and cleanings. Call us today to reserve an appointment.

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Our practice is committed to provide a full range of preventive and cosmetic options to help you achieve a cleaner, healthier, more attractive smile. We'll work with you to determine the best course of treatment, the most convenient scheduling and the most appropriate financial arrangements. We pride ourselves on making dental visits a positive, pleasant experience for everyone.
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