Dental PLAQUE and TARTAR: The two amigos.

What is Plaque and what is tartar?  Both are similar in their Biological composition but vary in their structural formulas. In simpler terms, plaque is soft and it forms on a daily basis accumulating on all our tooth surfaces. They may form above or below the gums. It’s easy to see it once we stop brushing altogether, because it’s growth accelerates. It can also be peeled off easily. Plaque initiates the basic inflammatory mechanism by way of bleeding gums. The reason the gums bleeds on exposure to both plaque and tarter are that they are laden with bacteria. These bacteria produce toxins. The inter action with these toxins opens up capillaries and engorges the blood vessels. This is a sign of  inflammation. The longer the plaque keeps accumulating over tooth surfaces and in inaccessible places such as areas in between the teeth, they bring in a host of other problems. Gums become engorged and swollen. This also give out bad breath as a result of the release of  gases from the bacterial action on these unhealthy soft tissues. Poor Oral Hygiene is the main cause of it and is completely preventable. Plaque formation happens in our mouth daily. It’s surely a factory in there. It’s our job to remove them on  a daily basis. At least brush 2 times a day and floss once a day. Also rinse with water after each meal or even snacks.


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When you look at the above situation, most of the World population falls under this category. We see a few layers of plaque accumulation on the tooth and on the border between the tooth and the gums. Here we are able to see engorged gums, and inflamed borders. Now that you are educated on the subject, all you need to do is to keep up on your Oral Hygiene. Now you know what signs to look for.

Now Tartar on the Other hand stems from the same exact origins as plaque, but is usually long standing and is hard in nature. Once it is formed it is very hard to brush it off. It must be removed Professionally to prevent damage to the tooth, gums or even both. It may require extra force for removal. This chronic condition has the potency to magnify the problems that plaque poses. It also has the capacity to initiate and sustain bone loss. GUM Pockets do get deeper. It may be classified as mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. In areas where Dental Health care is unheard of, we see that most of the population go about their daily lives with no teeth at all and no dentures to act as a substitute. They have improvised and adapted to their new norm by chewing with their bare jaws. The most common reason why they have lost their teeth in the first place is due to lack of Dental education, lack of awareness and lack of access to a Dentist. We all seem to have taken our Dentist for granted.

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Imagine that you are in terrible pain over a long weekend and your dentist is not in town. What happens? You proceed to the ER and they toss you a bottle of pain killers and antibiotics. Then they tell you to see your Dentist and not your Physician. So form a partnership with your dentist in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. This is an investment on prevention and not to be considered an expense. It depends on how you look at it. It’s your health and it’s your mouth. Who else besides YOU would invest in it?  Invest in your routine cleaning at least every 3 months following scaling and root planing. This should be done at least every 2 years in addition to your periodic 3 month cleanings. This is only a recommendation. See your Dentist. Any preventive visits or necessary treatment must be tailored to your personal needs.

Plaque and tartar form naturally. The former is soft and the latter is hard. Special tools are used by your dentist to facilitate it’s removal without any further damage to your tooth or the gums. Most people tend to ignore the presence of both in their mouth because they do not elicit any pain. They tend to blame bleeding gums on bad genetics. They do tend to ignore bad breath, but it continues to remind them. Then they look for solutions elsewhere. Here comes the flavored mouthwash, fresh mints, gums, breath freshers and even flavored tablets. Any or all of these products do nothing to get into the root of the problem. All they do is give you a sense of freshness for time being or an euphoria. Once their time is up bad breath heads back to it’s spot.

So stop wasting your money on temporary fixes by using temporary products and instead focus your attention on getting to the root of the problem. These products only MASK the symptoms. If you are interested in taking care of your health so the body will take care of you there a re a few things you must do. 1. Get a complete physical 2. Partner with your dentist in following Preventive dental Health. Time to take charge. By now you might have heard that there is a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease as seen in many clinical studies. Now you know what to do.

Stop focusing on the symptoms and stop masking them. Try to get to the root of the problem instead and get to work in solving them. Our body is trying to tell us something here by way of bleeding gums, bone loss and bad breath. Listen to it. It may save your teeth and also give you a chance to keep your gums healthy for life.



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