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How To Tell The Difference Between Plaque And Tartar Built-up?

The food we eat has a major impact on our dental health. Though starchy and sweet foods are said to cause more dental problems, essentially, any solid food can deposit in the cracks and crevices of our teeth and feed the various harmful microbes in our mouth. These microbes create the pasty buildup that we all know as plaque. This is the primary reason why all doctors and TV commercials emphasise using good toothpaste and toothbrush for efficiently removing food deposits and plaque from our teeth.

However, not all of us may be aware of the term ‘tartar,’ which is also formed in the gaps of our teeth. In most patients who seek treatment for periodontitis or any other gum disease in Pune, tartar is the primary cause of the problem.

The characteristics of tartar, which is also known as ‘calculus,’ are different from that of plaque, but visually, they may appear to be the same. To better understand their differences, consider the following aspects of plaque and tartar.

Characteristics Of Plaque:

  • As mentioned before, plaque forms when the microbes in our mouth feed on the food deposits. It is usually white or light yellowish. 
  • There are more than 500 different types of bacteria that thrive over the plaque film that covers the tooth enamel and release harmful acids that gradually erode it.
  • It can be removed to a great extent with regular brushing and flossing.

Characteristics Of Tartar:

  • The plaque keeps building up over the gaps and crevices, even after brushing regularly. The deep plaque layers slowly harden and turn into dark yellow-brownish tartar. As it builds, it can spread under the gumline as well.
  • This tartar can easily give rise to decay and cavities, and also cause gingivitis, which loosens the hold of our teeth.
  • Since it’s too hard to be removed by toothbrush bristles, it can only be removed with special dental tools by a trained dentist in Pune.


At Creative Dental Care, we always take a comprehensive approach towards treating a patient where we encourage their routine oral hygiene habits to prevent future dental issues. If you’ve observed such tartar buildup around your gumline, we suggest that you immediately consult our dental experts and seek appropriate gum treatment in Pune today.

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