80% people live with tartar between their teeth and keep on living with it for years!
This statistic can seem quite common especially since most people infrequently visit dentists, and often only to get some major issue treated and resolved.
What most don’t realize is that plaque – the soft sticky film that builds up on teeth and under your gums everyday, becomes tartar which is quite harmful to health and integrity of teeth over time.
What is plaque and how does it harm our teeth?
In school we’ve been made aware of plaque, and told to brush our teeth by everyone as we grow. But you’ll be surprised to know how much plaque lies in the mouth of adults and the aged. Plaque is the soft, sticky film, easy to remove with brushing teeth daily twice. But if incompletely removed and plaque remains behind, it causes gums to become red, puffy and inflamed, making them bleed easily. Gingivitis as this inflammation is called is a reversible stage of periodontal disease but when left untreated or due to tartar buildup, can lead to advanced periodontal disease and tooth loss over time.
Tartar on the other hand is plaque left on the teeth for too long. After hardening and becoming calcified, it is known as calculus. Most of us live with calculus buildup in our teeth, with closed gaps between teeth and gums.
What does plaque and tartar look like?
The appearance of plaque in the mouth varies from person to person. Generally speaking, plaque appears in varying shades of yellow-brown. The variation in color of a person’s plaque depends on the person’s diet, overall health, and effectiveness of daily oral health care practices.
Therefore, with plaque there’s gum inflammations, tartar and hardened deposits. Without it there’s clear teeth, gaps and a better ability to masticate.
What happens when plaque and tartar are not removed regularly?
If not removed, plaque and tartar will inflame teeth and gums causing your mouth to become very sore and making it increasingly difficult to chew comfortably.
Plaque is harmful bacteria that accumulates on the surfaces of teeth and gums.
If not removed, plaque migrates downward on the tooth till it reaches the bone that holds your teeth inside the jawbone. When this happens, you have a non-reversible condition called periodontitis (commonly known as gum disease).
Additionally, the presence of acidic plaque on teeth surfaces impacts the integrity of tooth enamel. Weakened tooth enamel is at an increased risk for developing tooth decay (dental cavity).
Tooth decay is not reversible and can lead to teeth falling out, breaking off, chipping and general damage requiring dental implants, restoration, tooth caps and more depending on the kind of deterioration.
Teeth are the last of the body’s appendages we worry about, and people tend to live with the damage that accumulates – mainly tartar as our examinations show. Just getting teeth regularly cleaned at the dentist can stop and prevent decades of teeth loss, which can last you better as you age. Teaching children about good dental habits starts with us. Book an appointment with you friendly neighborhood dentist at Smile Station today!