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Drs. Gladnick And Justison
Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Wilmington, DE
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Do You Know the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

August 29, 2018
Posted By: Mark D. Gladnick, DDS
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People often use the terms “plaque” and “tartar” interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. There is an important distinction between the two, and defining them correctly should help people to realize why daily oral hygiene is so important. It’s also crucial to make two trips to the dentist each year for examinations and cleanings.

If you are looking for a family dentist in Wilmington, Dr. Mark C. Gladnick and Dr. Jason M. Justison are accepting new patients. We invite you to give us a call!

Plaque Versus Tartar: How Are They Different?


Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth and is loaded with bacteria. It tends to collect under your gums—especially after eating sugar or carbohydrates. The bacteria in plaque is fed by the sugar or starch in foods, producing acids that can lead to tooth decay.

It’s crucial to prevent plaque from building up by brushing at least twice each day and flossing once (preferably at bedtime). Drinking plenty of water and chewing sugarless gum when you can’t brush is also helpful.


When plaque is not removed from your teeth, it hardens into a substance called tartar. Tartar is virtually impossible to remove from your teeth yourself, and it needs to be done with the special dental tools your hygienist has. The buildup of tartar happens even to the most diligent of brushers because our toothbrush and dental floss can’t reach every area of the mouth.

Tartar needs to be removed from your teeth regularly to prevent other problems from starting, including periodontal disease and gum recession. Having it removed twice a year at your regular dental cleanings is crucial to your oral health.

Come and See Your Family Dentist in Wilmington Every Six Months

Keep your teeth and gums healthy by practicing good home care to keep plaque under control, and visit us twice a year to remove the tartar that inevitably forms on your teeth. We look forward to seeing your healthy smile!

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