Many of our patients at The Fayetteville Dentist get a couple of dental terms mixed up. In this blog 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. It develops as the food you eat breaks down during the courwe of the day. You can remove plaque through daily brushing and flossing. 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. It won’t come off with brushing your teeth. Regular check-ups and cleanings are necessary to remove tartar.
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. At The Fayetteville Dentist in Fayetteville NC, regular dental checkups remove any buildup and catches decay before it gets out of hand. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.
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