What is the difference between “plaque,” “tartar,” and “gingivitis?

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What is the difference between “plaque,” “tartar,” and “gingivitis?

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When your dog eats, food debris and dissolved nutrients remain at the junction of the gum and tooth. Bacteria begin to grow on those nutrients and form a soft, whitish film called “plaque.” Plaque is relatively easy to brush off, and the action of chewing harder foods (like dry dog food or dog treats) removes plaque from much of the tooth surface. (That is why dogs that are fed only canned food have more dental problems.) However, some plaque remains along the gum line and between teeth. Minerals in the saliva become deposited in the plaque and form a rough, hard-to-remove layer called “tartar” or “calculus.” Tartar provides a structure on the otherwise smooth tooth for more bacteria to attach. The bacteria exude toxins that inflame the surrounding gum tissues, causing the gum tissue to become swollen, red, and painful, and to bleed easily when pressure is applied. This inflammation is called “gingivitis.

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When your dog eats, food debris and dissolved nutrients remain at the junction of the gum and tooth. Bacteria begin to grow on those nutrients and form a soft, whitish film called “plaque.” Plaque is relatively easy to brush off, and the action of chewing harder foods (like dry dog food or dog treats) removes plaque from much of the tooth surface. (That is why dogs that are fed only canned food have more dental problems.) However, some plaque remains along the gum line and between teeth. Minerals in the saliva become deposited in the plaque and form a rough, hard-to-remove layer called “tartar” or “calculus.” Tartar provides a structure on the otherwise smooth tooth for more bacteria to attach. The bacteria exude toxins that inflame the surrounding gum tissues, causing the gum tissue to become swollen, red, and painful, and to bleed easily when pressure is applied.