Your mouth contains a lot of bacteria, which can help you maintain good health. However, when you eat food, your bacteria hone in on the food's starches and sugars and turn them into an acidic substance. This mix of acid and your bacteria, plus any remaining food particles and your saliva, lead to a sticky film called dental plaque. The plaque, which is colorless, will adhere to your teeth and gather at the edge of your gums. It may even get under your gum line, too. If left on your teeth, plaque will damage your enamel.
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If left to pool around and under your gums, plaque will irritate the tissue and may cause redness and swelling. Plaque formation is not a long, drawn-out affair. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Twenty minutes after eating, plaque is starting to coat your teeth and gums. If plaque isn't removed within 24 hours, it may become tartar, a hardened mineral buildup that has an unsightly yellow or brown hue. Tartar is even more problematic for your teeth and gums than plaque. This is because plaque has a softer consistency and can be removed by brushing and flossing. Tartar, however, is a solid deposit that bonds to the surface of your teeth and should only be removed by a dental professional.
Plaque and tartar can cause many dental issues if left to collect on your teeth and gums. Cavities can result, and if not treated, this tooth decay can progress to serious infections, broken teeth, and tooth loss. Gum inflammation is also a concern. In its initial stages, you may experience tender gums that bleed easily. This is called gingivitis. Without treatment, gums may recede and be unable to hold teeth in place. This more severe condition is known as periodontitis. Some studies suggest that this gum infection may affect other organs, too, particularly the heart.
To keep your teeth and gums healthy, it's important that you brush with a tartar control formula at least twice a day. These toothpastes contain ingredients that effectively clear plaque to help halt the formation of tartar. Some tartar control products contain additional ingredients to help improve your oral health in other ways. Look for fluoride to strengthen enamel, and whitening agents to remove surface stains and brighten teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, choose a tartar control paste that has desensitizing properties.
When shopping for tartar control toothpaste, drugstore.com provides a great selection of oral care products. You'll find the top brands, as well as other formulas you may have heard about and are eager to try. To help you decide which paste will meet your needs, we include a reviews forum for each product. There you will see star ratings, customer testimonials and a listing of pros, cons, and best uses. You'll also note that many of our drugstore.com products are on sale or qualify for a special offer. Thank you for shopping at drugstore.com.