At Summe Dental in Las Vegas, we find that many of our patients get a couple of dental terms mixed up. In this post, we would like to clarify the differences between plaque, calculus, and cavities.
Plaque is a film that covers teeth – a sticky layer of bacteria. You can remove plaque through daily brushing and flossing. However, if it isn’t removed it can build up and harden into calculus.
Calculus, also known as tartar, is hardened plaque that also accumulates minerals from food and saliva. Regular check-ups and cleanings are necessary to remove tartar as well as hard-to-reach plaque.
Plaque and calculus are not cavities
A cavity is basically a hole in the tooth caused by decay. Because plaque and calculus contain bacteria, the bacteria release acids which accelerate tooth decay and eventually lead to more cavities.
A good rule of thumb is this: Avoid plaque to avoid calculus and tartar to avoid tooth decay to avoid cavities.
We hope you’ve found this helpful. At Summer Dental in Las Vegas, our staff loves to answer any questions you have about dental health. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. To keep your smile clean and tartar-free, schedule your next cleaning and checkup with us today!
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