Understanding Plaque and Tartar Build-up: A Guide to Dental Health
Let’s face it, we all desire bright, pearly-white smiles to feel confident! But did you know two sneaky culprits called plaque and tartar are constantly working behind the scenes to dull your shine? In this post, we will break down what causes these pesky mineral deposits, the signs they may be building up, and the importance of visiting an emergency dentist in Mount Waverly to address these concerns.
What is Plaque Exactly?
Right after eating, a sticky film called plaque starts to form on your teeth. Plaque is made up of bacteria, food bits and saliva. The bacteria in plaque digest sugars from your meals and snacks, producing acid as a waste product. If the plaque is not removed, this acid can slowly eat away your enamel over time and cause cavities.
Luckily, plaque is soft and easy to brush away with regular dental hygiene. But if too much time passes without cleaning, look out – plaque hardens into an even bigger problem called tartar.
How Does Plaque Turn into Tartar?
Tartar, also known as calculus, is what plaque turns into when minerals from saliva get deposited on top of it. Unlike plaque, you cannot remove tartar by brushing and flossing alone – it needs to be professionally cleaned off.
Tartar tends to collect at the base of teeth and between them. This provides the perfect spot for bacteria to thrive. It gets harder to keep teeth plaque-free. The longer the tartar stays, the more likely that you will get gum disease, infection, and tooth loss. Regular dental cleanings are key for controlling tartar.
Oh No! 5 Signs You Have Too Much Plaque and Tartar
Watch out for these common signs of excessive tartar and plaque buildup:
- Bad breath or a bad taste that won’t go away
- Visibly yellow or white plaque coating your teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Tooth sensitivity or pain while eating hot or cold foods
- Receding gums
- New spaces forming between the teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to visit your dentist for a cleaning as soon as possible. The more plaque and tartar, the worse your oral health gets.
Tips for Controlling Plaque and Tartar at Home
While professional cleanings are important for removing hardened tartar, there are things you can do at home to better control plaque and tartar buildup between dental visits:
- Brush your teeth twice a day – Brushing thoroughly removes plaque from tooth surfaces and reduces plaque buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Take your time and brush for at least two minutes.
- Floss once a day – Flossing removes plaque and food from between the teeth where brushing can’t reach. This helps prevent tartar buildup in those areas.
- Use antibacterial mouthwash – Mouthwash can help kill bacteria, prevent plaque formation, and rinse away food debris. Look for a mouthwash containing cetylpyridinium chloride.
- Clean your tongue – Bacteria and plaque can accumulate on your tongue and contribute to bad breath. Gently brush your tongue when you brush your teeth.
- Eat a balanced diet – Eating less sugar and starch limits the amount of plaque the bacteria can produce.
- See your dentist regularly – Only a dentist can fully remove tartar below and above the gumline. Get professional cleanings every six months.
When to Visit an Emergency Dentist
In most cases, plaque and tartar buildup is preventable with good oral care. But if you suddenly experience severe tooth pain, swelling, or bleeding that does not stop, you may need emergency dental care. An emergency dentist in Mount Waverly can diagnose the problem and provide immediate relief. They can determine if the issue is due to an abscessed tooth, infection, or advanced periodontal disease caused by excessive plaque and tartar accumulation.
When in Doubt, Reach Out!
Don’t let plaque and tartar steal your smile’s sparkle. If you are in the Mount Waverly area, take charge of your dental health. Visit Syndal Dentistry for expert care and guidance. Let’s keep those pearly whites shining bright!