The Differences Between Tartar and Plaque

June 27, 2018 Image Credit:

Many people use the terms ‘plaque’ and ‘tartar’ interchangeably when they’re talking about the buildup of bacteria on the teeth. However, there is a difference between the two. Here at Kuhni Orthodontic Studio, we put a strong emphasis on patient education. Because of this, we’ll discuss the differences between plaque and tartar so that you’re able to better care for your dental health.


Plaque is a clear, sticky substance and is always forming on the teeth. Plaque is what forms when your saliva combines with the food particles and the sugar from the food you eat. Plaque is the residue that makes your teeth feel sticky between brushing. The reason why it’s so important to brush at least twice a day is that plaque can begin to form on the teeth within just a few hours of brushing. To keep your smile healthy and beautiful, you should be removing the plaque buildup from your teeth as often as you can.


If plaque can accumulate on the teeth without being thoroughly and regularly removed, it will eventually harden into the substance known as tartar. Tartar is hardened onto the teeth and cannot be removed with a toothbrush alone. You’ll need to have a professional cleaning performed to have the tartar removed. If tartar is not removed quickly, it can increase your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Both conditions can be painful and expensive to treat. The best way to keep plaque and tartar from causing problems for your dental health is to practice good oral hygiene. This means you should be brushing at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, flossing every day, and visiting your regular dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and a checkup. For more information about oral health, talk to Dr. Kuhni anytime. To make an appointment for orthodontic care with Kuhni Orthodontics, please contact Dr. Kameron Kuhni today. We serve Spanish Fork, Mapleton, Palmyra, Lake Shore, Benjamin, Springville, and Salem. Find a local orthodontist near you today!