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Preventing the Accumulation of Plaque and Tartar

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Plaque and Tartar Prevention

Dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria and sugars in the foods we eat. According to Dr. Shervin Louie, plaque that is not effectively removed may develop into tartar, a hardened deposit that is also called calculus. Once tartar has developed, you will need to make a visit to our Los Angeles Dentist to have it professionally removed through a process called scaling.

Plaque begins to develop quite quickly after a meal or snack, and the bacteria in our mouths begin to launch an acidic attack against the enamel of our teeth, softening them and making them vulnerable to decay. When the offending plaque is removed through brushing and flossing, our teeth have a chance to harden again through a process called remineralization. If the plaque is allowed to remain, the decay process continues and can worsen, leading to cavities, abscesses, or tooth loss.

Tartar often forms along the gumline, forming an unsightly yellow or brown thickened surface on the teeth. It is cosmetically unattractive, but because it is very porous, it can also encourage the formation of more plaque. More plaque can lead to more decay and more tartar, creating a vicious cycle. According to Dr. Shervin Louie, both tartar and plaque irritate and inflame the gums, creating a high risk for gum disease.

Ultimately, plaque and tartar buildup are two of the biggest risk factors for gum disease and tooth loss, and both are highly preventable through adequate oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. A visit to our Los Angeles dentist every six months ensures a thorough cleaning to remove plaque and tartar you can’t see or reach, as well as a checkup for early signs of other oral health problems