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Plaque and Tartar

Last May, All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach reopened for patients getting routine cleanings during the pandemic. Hopefully, things will soon be able to return to normal. But if you’ve put off a deep cleaning, don’t wait any longer to schedule an appointment. Plaque and tartar may not seem like a big deal, but they can cause major oral health problems if left alone. This week, we’ll take a closer look at what they are and why they need to be removed frequently.

Our mouths are filled with hundreds of species of microbes, most of which are harmless or helpful. But there are a few kinds of bacteria that produce acid as part of their metabolization process. Plaque is the sticky mixture of saliva, sugar, bacteria, and acid that forms on teeth. The acid causes enamel to decay and gums to recede, and will continue to damage oral tissues until it is brushed away.

If plaque isn’t brushed away, it will harden into a yellowish-brown substance called tartar. You will most often see tartar building up at the edges of teeth where you have the most difficulty flossing. Like plaque, tartar will cause gum recession, but trying to remove it on your own may cause you to further harm your enamel. Our hygienists can safely break up tartar and polish your teeth, but gum recession may be permanent. To ensure your teeth remain stable and free of cavities, make sure you’re getting a cleaning every six months, and in the meantime, remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss after meals, and to drink plenty of water to further mitigate the effect of bacterial acid.

Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.

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2180 Garnet Avenue, Suite 1-K Pacific Beach, CA 92109


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