Plaque and its Effects
Plaque and Tartar
Plaque is a soft, sticky film with bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. It can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar (also called calculus), which makes it difficult to keep your teeth clean. Only a professional dental cleaning can remove tartar from your teeth.
Before professional dental cleaning
After professional dental cleaning
Buildup of tartar can also be seen on x-rays.
Plaque can harden into tartar if not removed and can build up around your teeth. This makes it harder to keep them clean on your own.
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A disclosing agent can reveal the amount of plaque that’s in your mouth after you brush. It can help point out areas in your mouth that you may not be reaching when you clean.
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You can also get decay in places where your toothbrush can’t reach — like in between teeth. Be sure to clean between your teeth every day using floss, picks, or other cleaners. Your dentist or hygienist can help determine which method works best for your mouth.
Anti-gingivitis mouthrinse reduces bacteria that can cause gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.
For some people, a powered toothbrush may be easier or more comfortable to use than a regular toothbrush.
• Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to use these tools to suit your needs.
• Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when you buy these products.
• Brush for 2 minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Learn the proper way to brush on the next page.
• Floss or clean between your teeth every day. Find out how on page 10.
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