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What is the difference between plaque and tartar? Many people use these two terms interchangeably but are unaware that they pertain to two different things. In this article, we will go over their differences and provide you with ways to prevent them from developing.

What Is Plaque?

This term refers to the white or yellowish sticky film that coats a person’s teeth if they do not practice good oral hygiene habits every day. Plaque can form on teeth if they are not regularly brushed properly. This sticky substance is home to millions of microbes that grow and thrive in the polymer layer.

What Is Tartar?

If plaque is not properly removed from the surfaces of teeth, it may later develop into tartar. Tartar, in short, is a hardened plaque. Tartar is more difficult to clean than plaque. It can grow in the small spaces in between your teeth and gums. It may require a person to see a dentist in order to have the tartar removed.

Preventing Plaque

Luckily, there are many ways to prevent developing plaque. If plaque is successfully prevented, tartar will not be able to form on teeth either. Here are a few ways to prevent plaque buildup.

1 - Good Oral Hygiene Habits

The most effective way to prevent plaque from forming is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing are not enough; you have to make sure to visit your dentist at least once a year to ensure that you do not have any oral health issues. Also, if you have clarifications on your oral hygiene habits, you can ask your dentist. They will be able to tell you if you are doing anything wrong that may jeopardize your oral health in the long run.

2 - Swish Water When You Can’t Brush

It is a good practice to gargle with water after meals, especially if you cannot brush your teeth right away. This will dislodge any food particles that were left over from the meal and prevent these from forming into plaque. It is still essential to brush and floss when you get the chance. Swishing and gargling with antibacterial mouthwash may also be effective, as it will kill any bacteria that may have formed in the mouth after a meal.

3 - Eat Cranberries

Cranberries are known to be an effective deterrent against the bacteria that cause plaque. Adding cranberries and cranberry juice into your diet will help in the prevention of plaque formation.


Plaque is not only unsightly but may also have the potential to cause many oral health issues if it remains unremoved. The great news is that practicing good oral health habits should be enough to ensure that plaque does not form.

Making sure that you are able to brush your teeth and floss at least two times a day will keep plaque off your teeth. If you have any questions about plaque and tartar, talk to your dentist. They can advise you on how to best keep your teeth healthy and free from plaque and tartar buildup.

Dental House Mi offers dental procedures to those who live in Ann Arbor and Waterford, MI. We offer dental services, cosmetic dental procedures, preventive dentistry, and other dental procedures. If you are in need of dental services, visit Dental House

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Ann Arbor Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Thur 9am - 6pm, Fri & Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 4860 Washtenaw Ave D, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Waterford Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Fri 9am - 6pm, Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 5979 Highland Rd, Waterford Twp, MI 48327
West Bloomfield Dentist Office
Hours : Monday, Wednesday to Friday 9am - 6pm
Address : 6595 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 48322
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