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Did you know plaque and tartar cause gum disease, and when they build up on your smile, they harm the teeth and affect your oral health? There are quite a few differences between the two as well. To tell you a little more about plaque and tartar in Frederick, Maryland, our Dental Arts of Frederick dental team has provided the following information for you:

Plaque: Plaque is a white, sticky film that clings to your teeth. It forms when food particles, bacteria, and saliva mix in the mouth. When it lives on the teeth, it can irritate the gums, which can result in bleeding and swelling when you brush and floss your teeth. Another symptom is chronic bad breath. This is the first stage of gum disease, which is gingivitis.

Tartar: Tartar is the hardened form of plaque. It develops when plaque is not washed away on a regular basis. This substance is tougher to clean and the only treatment that can remove it from your smile is a dental cleaning at your dental office. When tartar lives on your smile, it continues to irritate your gums—except now the gums start to recede, which involves your gums moving away from your teeth. When this happens, pockets of infection will form. This will increase the bacterial presence in your mouth. Eventually, if the tartar is not treated, the bacteria will spread to your underlying bone and will start to deteriorate it. This can result in loose and lost teeth. This is the second stage of gum disease known as periodontitis.

The best ways to keep these substances away from your smile are to clean your teeth by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day and by visiting your dentist, Dr. Kevin Oakes, every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on your appointments. The treatments involved are the only treatments that can completely remove plaque and tartar from your smile.

For more information and details, call our office now at 301-663-5552. We are happy to help you!