Do you ever get certain dental terms mixed up? A lot of our patients at Montz & Maher Dental Group in Pearland do. We’re going to use this blog post 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 with your Pearland dentist 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.
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