Plaque and Tartar

by admin on September 19, 2008

Common Oral Problems

Whenever you browse through any oral health article/blog you might encounter the words Plaque, Tartar and Calculus with a brief definition that hardly renders any understanding.

You might have also been told by your dentist that you have calculus or tartar deposits and need to get them removed. Often people misuse the words either mistaking one for the other or lacking any understanding on them. So let me throw some light on this issue and the appropriate measures to remove them.

Successful building up of plaque leads to Tartar formation

Successful build up of plaque leads to Tartar formation


This is a thin film of clear sticky bacteria that forms on your teeth, gums and tongue.

Plaque contains various types of bacteria and is a sticky layer. Hence, mechanical cleansing by toothbrush is essential to remove plaque.

Plaque begins forming 12 hours after brushing and thus brushing twice a day is very important to control it.

Mucoid Plaque(or simply Plaque) is harmful as it contains infective bacteria which can cause tooth decay and gingivitis.

Removal of Plaque

Calculus (Tartar)

If Plaque is not removed, it hardens to mineralized visible mass which is called Calculus or Tartar.

It forms hard yellowish deposits above or below the gums, on the inner or outer surface of teeth and can only be removed by your Dentist or Oral hygienist.

Different people exhibit varied susceptibility to calculus formation. Some are quite resistant where as others experience frequent calculus formations.

Removal of Tartar

  • People who have susceptibility to Tartar formations should use Tartar control toothpaste. Previously, Hand scalers were used by dentist to remove the deposits which was very tedious, time consuming and tiring procedure both for the patient and the dentist.
  • The process has been made much simpler now by the advent of automatic machines and you can simply get your calculus deposits removed by asking the dentist to scale or clean your teeth.

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