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The difference between Plaque and Tartar

Plaque is sticky and colourless; it contains bacteria that build up naturally on tooth surfaces and especially along the gum line. Sugars in food and drinks can combine with plaque bacteria to release acids. These acids attack tooth enamel and break it down, which can then create cavities. Plaque bacteria can also contribute to gum disease, like gingivitis. Regular brushing and flossing are your most effective tools in the fight against plaque. If it’s not removed daily, plaque eventually accumulates and hardens into tartar. 

Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Tartar can also form at and underneath the gum line and can irritate gum tissues. Tartar is formed when residual plaque on the surface of the tooth reacts with minerals in your saliva. Only a dentist can remove tartar.

Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.


Everything you need to know about a cavity

What is a cavity?

Decay happens over time and the result is a cavity. Teeth are covered with a hard protective top layer called enamel. But once the enamel is weakened by acids produced by bacteria, a pit or cavity is formed in or on the tooth surface.

Do I have cavities?

Your dentist finds cavities during a regular dental checkup. They probe your teeth, looking for soft spots, or use X-rays to check between your teeth.

If you’ve had a cavity for a while, you might get a toothache, especially after you eat or drink something sweet, hot, or cold. Sometimes you can see pits or holes in your teeth.

How are they treated?

The most basic form of treatment for a cavity is a filling, which is when the decayed portion of the tooth is drilled away and replaced with a filling material.

How can I prevent cavities?

Preventing cavities is best accomplished by brushing and flossing regularly, maintaining a balanced diet and limiting the amount of sugar consumed. Flossing is critical to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. In addition, a dental check up every six months allows dentists to identify early signs of cavities and stop them.

Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.


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