Brush Away Trouble: Simple Steps to Beat Dental Plaque & Keep Tartar at Bay!

When it comes to beating dental plaque and tartar there’s nothing like brushing and flossing. 

Enamel is considered to be the hardest substance in your body. That being said, enamel is also susceptible to weakening and damage from bacteria, salvia, food and beverages consumed on a daily basis. As it may be impossible to prevent exposure it is important to balance the acidity within your mouth.

Removing dental plaque and tartar should be a key part of your dental routine to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The buildup of plaque and tartar without treatment can lead to cavities, tooth decay, gingivitis and gum recession. 

Steps to Beat Dental Plaque & Keep Tartar

Understanding Dental Plaque and Tartar

So what exactly is dental plaque and tartar and why is it so damaging to our teeth? We break it down for you below.

Dental Plaque 

First, it is important to know that plaque is normal. Dental plaque is a sticky and slimy deposit of bacteria that forms on the tooth surface as you eat and drink throughout the day. It can make your teeth feel fuzzy when you rub your tongue across the surface of your teeth. It develops as food particles, salvia and bacteria combine and create a substance that attaches along the gumline and the surfaces of the teeth. 

As it is colourless, plaque buildup can sometimes be hard to spot. Keeping in mind how dental plaque is formed, it is important to brush and floss at least twice a day, if not after every meal. Allowing plaque to remain on your teeth and gums can weaken your enamel and the structure of your teeth leading to cavities. Once plaque hardens, it transforms into tartar which causes serious gum disease if not treated. 

The natural development of plaque increases as we age. While it is recommended to follow healthy dental habits early in life, it is never too late to begin a beneficial dental plan.


Tartar, also known as dental calculus, occurs when plaque calcifies and hardens. This deposit can be seen as a yellow or brown hard and crusty substance along the gumline and primarily along the sides of the tooth. 

As tartar is porous, it attracts bacteria leading to serious oral conditions such as gum disease. Tartar can cause bad breath, bleeding gums, cavities, swollen gums, gum recession, gum detachment, loose teeth, and tooth loss.  

Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be easily removed at home with brushing and flossing. It hardens as a permanent fixture and can only be safely and effectively removed by professional dental tools. The specialized tools provide a deeper clean than brushing and flossing alone. 

Understanding the Differences Between Dental Plaque and Tartar

FormationDevelops from food, beverages and salviaThe result of untreated plaque buildup
TextureSticky, slimy and fuzzy feelingRough, hard and crusty
ColourColourlessYellow and brown
Oral LocationSurface of teeth and along the gumlineSurface of teeth and along the gumline
How to RemoveRegular brushing and flossingProfessional dentist tools
ConsequencesTooth decay, cavities, and hardens into tartarDamages enamel, gums, and leads to oral health conditions
When It DevelopsThroughout the day four to 12 hours after brushingDevelops as existing plaque buildup hardens within 24 to 72 hours

Preventive Tips for a Plaque- and Tartar-Free Smile

  • Arm Yourself with the Right Tools: Choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste is important. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or an electric-powered toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Master the Motion: Use correct brushing motion with circular and massaging motions. Avoid moving your toothbrush just back and forth as this can force plaque to settle between the teeth and within the gumline.
  • Get a Grip: Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle away from the gumline to remove more bacteria before it hardens.
  • Increase Your Frequency: Make sure to brush your teeth and floss at least twice daily. For those with an increased risk of plaque buildup, brushing may be recommended after every meal or snack.
  • Limit Sugary Drinks and Snacks: As plaque and tartar can develop from regular consumption of sugary drinks and food, limit your intake by enjoying sweet treats in moderation. Avoiding or reducing consumption of things high in sugar, starch, and acid can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Schedule Regular Dental Visits: Routine checkups once every six months can help you identify any potential problems such as improper dental hygiene that can lead to tartar buildup. Regular examinations from your dentist are essential to maintain good oral health. 
  • Get a Professional Dental Cleaning: A professional dental cleaning at least once every six months can prevent the buildup of tartar before damage to the enamel and gumline occurs. Your dentist may suggest what foods and drinks to avoid, helping you protect against any potential dental problems. 

Visit Princeview Dental Group to Protect Your Smile Today! 

Having a customized dental plan can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Let the friendly team at Princeview Dental Group provide professional and compassionate care. Our services involve regular oral care including professional dental cleaning, teeth whitening, and dental emergency services during our regular business hours and after hour referral service emergency treatment in Etobicoke. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you smile brighter! 

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