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Plaque and tartar can build up in anyone’s mouth. They appear due to daily functions, such as eating food, drinking tea or coffee. Although plaque and tartar are common, they are preventable. When you spot the formation of plaque or tartar, you can take steps to get rid of them and prevent them from reappearing. 

Although they look similar, they also have differences that you should be aware of. By learning how to prevent plaque and tartar, you can be risk-free from various dental issues. 

This blog discusses the difference between plaque and tartar, and how to prevent their formation.

Plaque Formation

Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on sugary food particles in your mouth. When bacteria mix with these particles, it leads to plaque formation. Plaque is a colourless, sticky substance that forms on your teeth, especially around the gum line. Excessive plaque formation can attack the tooth’s enamel causing cavities and pain and increasing the risk of gingivitis. 

Tartar Formation

When plaque reacts with minerals in saliva, the mineralisation leads to a solid buildup of calcified plaque – or tartar. Tartar is yellowish-brown in colour and is much harder than plaque and can lead to permanent tooth discolouration. Tartar also increases the risk of developing tooth decay and experiencing pain and sensitivity in the teeth.

Cleaning procedure for Plaque and Tartar

The time taken for plaque to turn into tartar varies from person to person. It also depends on dental hygiene, diet, and health habits. The young are more resistant to the development of tartar. As you age, watch out for plaque and tartar buildup. 

Tartar bonds strongly to the tooth’s enamel, and only a dental expert can eliminate it by cleansing, scaling, and root planing

At your ordinary dental check-up, your dentist or dental hygienist will use a scaler to take away any dental plaque, tartar, and stains around your gums and among your enamel. 

If you have pockets between your gums, scaling and root is the best option for cleaning your teeth. General anaesthesia is given to the patient – Plaque and tartar are eliminated above and beneath the gum line. Following this, the roots are smoothed out to assist your gums in reattaching for your enamel. 

Tips to Clean Palque and Tartar

Here are a few basic tips to prevent plaque tartar.

  1. Start by brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. When you get into the good habit of brushing your teeth twice a day, you can further improve your dental hygiene by adding floss to your routine. It’s the best way to clean between the teeth and below the gumline. These areas are most susceptible to plaque buildup and shrinking gum disease. 
  2. A poor diet increases the risk of plaque and tartar, while a healthy diet reduces the risk. Bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and starches. The more they feed, the more they multiply and the more acid they produce, which can damage your teeth. Avoid sugary foods and consume foods that limit the spread of plaque, such as celery, apples, and cheeses.
  3. After eating sugary foods, rinsing your mouth with lukewarm saltwater is easy to remove some lingering sugar particles to ward off plaque. It may work well until you can brush your teeth. Or you can rinse with mouthwash for extra cleaning power. Using an anti-plaque mouthwash eliminates the bacteria that cause gingivitis, thus preventing periodontitis and receding gums disease.


Commit to a daily dental hygiene routine. Failure to follow this precaution is a major cause of plaque buildup, turning into tartar. Make a commitment to taking care of your teeth every day, and you will reduce the risk of developing plaque and tartar. Visit your dentist and schedule regular dental cleaning appointments. By following the right measures, you will have fresher, more fragrant, and more beautiful teeth.