What is Tartar?
Also called as calculus, tartar is a hard deposit that can trap stains on your teeth, causing discoloration. Phosphate and calcium bind together to form crystals and these calcium phosphate crystals hardens forming tartar. There are certain forms of chemicals known as pyrophosphates that help reduce calculus buildup by preventing the formation of crystals on the surface of the tooth. Tartar develops a resilient bond that can only be removed by a professional. The formation of tartar may also make it harder to get rid of new bacteria, hence possibly creating more problems down the road.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a colorless, sticky bacterial deposit that is always forming on the tooth surface. Food, fluids and saliva combine to produce these film that gather on teeth as well as the line where the gums and teeth meet. Like tartar, the formation of plaque can also trap stains on the teeth, which causes tooth discoloration.
Plaque is the main cause of gum disease and fighting plaque requires a lifetime of good dental hygiene. It can also lead to cavities, further weakening the teeth. Plaque may start to form on the teeth four to twelve hours after brushing – the reason why it’s very important to brush at least twice a day every day. Though necessary, tooth brushing isn’t enough. It is very important to floss every day to remove any residue from hard-to-reach places between the teeth.
How to Control Tartar and Plaque?
Both tartar and plaque don’t affect everyone the same way. Every person differs in their resistance and susceptibility. For many of us, tartar and plaque accumulate much faster when we age, which means that the older you get, the more you have to keep your dental hygiene in check. However, there are several ways you can change your dental hygiene practices to make sure you protect your teeth from plaque and tartar buildup.
1. Have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional twice a year or every six months, or more frequently as advised by your hygienist or dentist.
2. Brush your teeth using a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphate, which sticks to the tooth surface and stops the formation of tartar crystals. You may also use a toothpaste that contain sodium hexametaphosphate, a pyrophosphate that is specially made to not only inhibit tartar but also loosen up the bonds of stains for protective barrier to prevent further stains and promote teeth whitening.