Plaque becomes tartar
Plaque is a clear film that coats the teeth, collecting first at the gum level not the top of the tooth. Food particles stick to it and attract bacteria that normally live in the mouth.
The bacteria feed on this residue – especially carbohydrates – and release acids as they digest and multiply. In the early stages, thorough brushing effectively removes plaque and bacteria.
Salivary salts are attracted to the acids forming within the plaque and in a simple chemical reaction, form hard crystal deposits. Now it is known as tartar.
It is the white or yellowy substance seen at the base and edges of teeth. As tartar builds up it can irritate the gums resulting in the puffiness, redness and bleeding known as gingivitis. Tartar, also known as calculus, can no longer be removed by brushing. It requires instead, the use of special dental instruments.
During a visit with the hygienist, get tips and advice to improve oral hygiene to markedly reduce the development of tartar.