Tartar (also called calculus), is plaque which has hardened on the teeth. It may form at and below the gumline. Tartar can irritate the gum tissues and it provides plaque a larger surface area to grow. This can cause other serious problems such as cavities and gum disease. In addition to causing diseases in teeth and gums tartar is a cosmetic problem as well (it stains more easily with coffee, tea and smoke). So if you love tea, coffee or you smoke, take care to prevent tartar buildup.
Tartar is not colorless like plaque. It is a mineral buildup that’s easily seen if it is above the gumline. Tartar gives yellow or brown color to teeth or gums. If you want to be sure of whether or not you have tartar see your dentist.
Brushing well twice a day (morning and at night) if needed using a tartar control toothpaste, and flossing daily are important to control plaque and tartar buildup. However if tartar is formed, you will need to consult your dentist or hygienist to remove it. Tartar is removed by scaling. For scaling special instruments are used to remove tartar from your teeth and under the gumline.
Plaque is a sticky substance that is formed when bacteria present in the mouth get deposited along with saliva, food particles and other natural substances on the surface of the teeth. It is the leading cause of cavities and gum disease.