There are some common dental terms that a lot of people get confused. Those of us at Endres Gateway Dentistry in Cincinnati would like to clarify a few of them – in particular 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, but they can lead to 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. And you avoid it by brushing and flossing, and seeing the dentist twice a year.
Endres Gateway Dentistry in Cincinnati provides professional teeth cleaning. It’s a service of our family dentistry. We also provide cosmetic dentistry, to help our patients get the smiles they’ve always wanted.
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