A buildup of plaque and calculus will lead to irritated and infected gums when left untreated, but what does it take for plaque to become calculus and a more serious issue? First, it’s important to understand the difference between plaque and calculus:
- Plaque is the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. It’s a soft deposit that contains many different types of bacteria that can irritate your gums, and as time goes on more microorganisms appear and the plaque thickens. Plaque can be easily removed with proper brushing and flossing, but it only takes about an hour for plaque to build up again, which is why it’s important to keep up with regular brushing and flossing.
- Calculus forms when plaque is not removed regularly. If left uncared for, plaque hardens, calcifies, and becomes calculus, or tartar. Calculus can’t be removed by simply brushing your teeth, rather it takes a dental professional to remove it during an oral cleaning.
Gingivitis is typically caused by plaque and calculus. Though gingivitis is a considered mild gum disease, it can become much more serious and develop into periodontitis if left untreated. If that’s the case, periodontitis can form pockets in between your teeth and gums that can become filled with bacteria-riddled plaque, that can eventually cause your teeth to fall out.
If you have a mild form of gingivitis or plaque-related gum disease, regularly brushing and flossing your teeth will help remove plaque and should improve the situation. However, if your gums are irritated and don’t seem to be getting better, you should schedule an appointment with your periodontist to treat the plaque and make sure it’s not something more serious. As your Vero Beach Periodontist, I’m here to help keep your mouth calculus and gingivitis free. If you have any concerns about your oral health, schedule an appointment today!