Plaque vs. Tartar: Differences and Prevention Tips

Plaque vs. Tartar Differences and Prevention TipsMost people know that they want to avoid both plaque and tartar, but they are not usually aware of the differences between the two. However, there are several important differences that must be understood in order to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Here are some of the basics about plaque, tartar, and their causes as well as prevention tips to help you make the right decisions for your teeth.


Plaque is a colorless, sticky film made of bacteria. It forms on your teeth and along your gum line over the course of the day. Every time you eat, the bacteria on your teeth produce acid that erodes your teeth. This is what is known as plaque.


Tartar is what happens when you allow too much plaque to accumulate on your teeth. When tartar sits for too long, it begins to harden and becomes calcified, attaching to the enamel on your teeth. The longer tartar sits, the more difficult it becomes to remove. If you let it harden too much, it can only be removed by a dental professional.

Tartar can cause cavities as well as discoloration and gum sensitivity. It can also lead to more serious issues like periodontal disease, so it is important to pay attention to plaque and tartar buildup.

Symptoms of Plaque and Tartar

Everybody will develop plaque throughout the day. If you run your tongue across your teeth and feel a fuzzy film on them, you are feeling plaque. It is not easy to see, but you can generally feel it in your mouth, and too much of it can lead to gingivitis and other uncomfortable feelings.

Tartar is a mineral buildup, so it is usually visible on your teeth. You may see a yellow or brownish discoloration at your gum line or between your lower front teeth. This will feel more firm and tangible than the “fuzziness” of plaque.


The main cause of excessive plaque and tartar buildup is a failure to properly take care of your teeth. After we eat, the bacteria from our food makes acids that begin to eat away at the enamel on our teeth. As tartar forms, plaque has more surface area on which to develop, leading to even more tartar and worsening tooth conditions. Thus, it is a vicious cycle that can rapidly decay your teeth and lead to other dental issues.


The best way to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar is to brush thoroughly at least twice a day. This means brushing for at least 2 minutes to ensure that you cover as much ground as possible. You should also floss at least once daily – twice if you are able to. This helps to immediately remove anything that may have been left by your meal. Be sure to schedule at least 2 dental visits every year for a deeper, more thorough cleaning that will take plaque and tartar removal one step further.

To learn more about treatments for plaque and tartar, contact Sunset Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule your appointment today!

Leave a Reply

Our Mission:

We want to be your dentist here in the Miami, FL area.

We have our own independent
in-house dental lab.
Most dental offices send all their laboratory work to outside labs, but here at Sunset Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Ubieta is utilizing an in house lab that fabricates most of our Crowns, Inlays/Onlays and Veneers.


  • Lilianet S. Avatar
    Lilianet S.

    My whole life I have been afraid of the dentist. When they told me o had to remove my wisdom tooth I was already looking for a place with general anesthesia because I was afraid of the process and didn’t wanted to be afraid. A friend of mine talked to me about Dr Ubieta. She promised I wouldn’t feel a thing.

    At the end of the procedure I almost cried. Dr Ubieta was so gentle and nice through the whole process that I felt super comfortable and to be honest I didn’t felt pain at all. Only from the injections with the anesthesia.

    Absolutely going back to get the rest of them out.

  • Casey A. Avatar
    Casey A.

    The entire staff is very kind and professional. Everyone is amazing at what they do and they make the experience very pleasant. Dr. Ubieta is very good at what he does and will go above and beyond to make your experience the best one possible. I had all 4 wisdom teeth extracted and the entire staff did the most to make me comfortable and have a smooth procedure. By far the best staff and dental service I’ve ever come across! Highly recommend for any type of dental service!

  • Nikolas I. Avatar
    Nikolas I.

    This was my first time attending and they treated me amazing. Everyone was kind and very helpful. They did a great job. Highly recommend!

  • Lianet S. Avatar
    Lianet S.

    My experience with Sunset Family & Cosmetic Dentistry has been nothing less than extraordinary! Dr. Ubieta is not a typical dentist, he is highly skilled and very passionate about his profession. He is also well-informed of the latest dental techniques and what treatment is best for me. His staff is one of a kind, they always provide an outstanding service making me feel very comfortable every time I visit the office. I highly recommend Dr. Ubieta and his practice!

  • felix &. Avatar
    felix &.

    Overall great experience with this practice, great costumer service from the moment I steped in the office they made me feel like family. Advance technology to get procedures done faster than other offices. I highly recommend them to everyone I know.


Sunset Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
9777 SW 72nd St, Miami, FL 33173

Contact Us:
(305) 596-2815

Font Resize
Call Us Text Us