Posted .

Gum disease is a serious and dangerous dental issue that can ruin your smile and damage your oral health. This disease begins with plaque and tartar. But what are plaque and tartar? To help you better understand these two harmful substances, our PR Cosmetic and General Dentistry dental team has 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.

It’s best to prevent plaque and tartar growth on your smile by keeping up on oral hygiene and by visiting your dentist, Dr. Paul Roe, every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. If you do these things, you’ll be on the right track toward a strong and healthy smile. To learn more about plaque and tartar in Puyallup, Washington, please call our office today at 253-435-0333. We are here to help you in any way we can, and we look forward to hearing from you!