Tartar vs Plaque - Which is Worse, Comparison, Removal Methods

Tartar vs Plaque: Understanding the Difference

Keeping good dental hygiene is critical for overall well-being. Healthy white teeth enhance your confidence and contribute to your beauty. However, neglecting oral hygiene may result in plaque and tartar accumulation on your teeth, potentially causing oral health complications. Knowing the difference between tartar and plaque can help you spot the early signs of dental health concerns. 

This post elaborates on the significant differences between tartar and plaque and tartar removal at home. Let’s delve into it. 

Tartar vs. Plaque vs. Calculus

Plaque, a sticky film that accumulates on and around teeth daily, is a thin, soft substance usually transparent, white, or pale yellow.

In comparison, tartar is hardened and crusty, frequently leading to discoloration of teeth. Calculus is another term for dental tartar. 

Generally, tartar and plaque result in the same dental issues; however, some main differences between them must be recognized. 

I- Appearance 

Plaque is a colorless layer on teeth and can only be felt by buffing the tongue across the teeth. Tartar is yellow or sometimes brown, which can be seen clearly. 

II- Buildup Process 

Plaque builds up on your teeth daily after eating or drinking anything, especially carbohydrates and beverages.

By brushing and flossing daily, you can get rid of plaque quickly. But if left on teeth for a long time, it solidifies, resulting in tartar formation. 

iII- Removal Process 

Plaque removal is effortless and can be done daily by brushing and flossing. Meanwhile, tartar is challenging to remove at home, and you must visit a dental expert for complete removal.  

What is Worse, Plaque or Tartar?

Tartar is worse as it’s more challenging to eliminate and can result in more severe dental issues if ignored, including tooth infections, gum diseases, and gingivitis. However, tartar solely forms from untreated plaque that hardens over time.

No over-the-counter remedies effectively eliminate tartar. The only choice is to consult a dental professional for tartar removal.

How to Remove Tartar from Teeth without a Dentist

A dental professional has several ways to remove tartar. However, dental visits may only be affordable for some.

You can prevent and remove tartar by practicing careful oral hygiene, preventing plaque buildup, and using natural remedies.

Here are a few ways to remove dental tartar at home. 

1- Toothpaste

Tartar-controlled toothpaste with pyrophosphates and fluoride aids in plaque control.

Manual toothbrushes effectively remove plaque and tartar, while electric toothbrushes with oscillating heads are more efficient in fighting plaque and gum disease.

2- Flossing

Dentists usually recommend flossing daily with unwaxed floss, especially at night. Insert the floss gently between teeth, moving it back and forth, then curve it in a “C” shape to clean along the edges.

Remember to floss between every tooth, including the backs of the last teeth, for effective plaque removal. According to NCBI, flossing helps reduce plaque and minimizes the risk of other dental problems. 

3- Mouthwash

After flossing and brushing, use a fluoride mouthwash to ensure plaque-free teeth. For mild gum disease like gingivitis, consider stronger mouthwashes, possibly prescribed by your healthcare provider.

How can I remove tartar at home? 

Tartar is difficult to remove at home. However, using a brush and floss daily is vital to avoid build-up. Floss for the gum line is also necessary because it removes plaque, reducing the risks of tartar formation.

A dental professional can recommend particular kinds of toothpaste at home if it is formed. 

Home Remedies for Tartar and Plaque

Looking for a plaque and tartar remover at your home? Here are some simple home measures you can try to help remove and prevent tartar.

I- Baking Soda 

Baking soda removes tartar by softening it and balancing mouth acids. Its mild abrasiveness helps scrub away stains and whiten teeth, although it may not remove deeper stains.

Use a small amount cautiously to avoid damaging tooth enamel, brushing with baking soda and water or combining it with toothpaste.

II- White Vinegar 

Gargling with warm water, a pinch of salt, and white vinegar can help remove tartar between teeth and around gums.

The antibacterial properties of white vinegar can demineralize tartar if used as a mouthwash once or twice daily, after or between brushing teeth. Avoid if you have mouth wounds.

III- Aloe Vera 

Aloe vera, with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, can prevent plaque and remove tartar buildup while soothing gum issues.

Use aloe vera juice and water as a daily mouthwash or combine aloe vera gel, glycerin, baking soda, and water into a paste for brushing teeth. Rinse with warm water after use.

Can Brushing Remove Tartar? 

It is nearly impossible to remove plaque by brushing when it solidifies and turns into tartar. Besides, brushing daily removes food particles and acids in your teeth.

For tartar removal, specially formed toothpaste can be used, which includes chemicals that stick to the tartar and take it away from your teeth.

The Bottom Line 

Untreated tartar can lead to severe gum disease. If you want an effective way to get beneficial results from tartar removal, you should see a dental professional.

Book your appointment with the best Pediatric Dentist in Arizona and get quality services. Meanwhile, some tartar can be removed at home if you put a continuous effort into it. Moreover, it has a greater risk of destruction of tooth enamel, an incurable protection for your teeth.


Is tartar the same as plaque?

Tartar differs from plaque in appearance, formation, and removal. Plaque is colorless, while tartar is yellow; plaque is formed daily and can be removed daily, while the thickness of plaque forms tartar and must be removed by a dental professional. 

What is hard plaque or tartar? 

Tartar is the solidified form of dental plaque that can develop on your teeth, both above and below the gum line. Plaque is standard for everyone, but without proper oral care, it can solidify into tartar. Unlike plaque, you cannot eliminate it through brushing and flossing alone.

How do you tell if it’s plaque or tartar? 

Plaque feels fuzzy when you run your tongue over your teeth. It is usually clear in appearance, making it difficult to notice. In contrast, tartar can feel rough and look yellow or brown.

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