How Long Does it Take for Plaque to Turn into Tartar?

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Austin, Bee Cave, Lakeway and Nearby Areas of Texas


Dental plaque is a biofilm that forms naturally on the teeth. Within this biofilm are bacteria that feed on food particles and sugars in the mouth. The byproduct of this bacterial feeding frenzy are acids that erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. By removing plaque through brushing and flossing, you prevent these acids from eating enamel and help protect the teeth against decay and infection.

Tartar is the name given to plaque that has hardened. This process begins within hours of plaque forming, but may take up to 48 hours to complete. Once formed, tartar will continue to harden – holding and protecting all acids and bacteria fast to the teeth – until it is removed.

Plaque is easy to remove with brushing and flossing. Tartar, on the other hand, may be impossible to remove at home. This is but one of many reasons you should visit our Austin office every six months for professional cleanings. During these cleanings, tartar can be removed from all surfaces of the teeth, providing you with a fresh foundation for your daily routine. What’s more, the examinations performed immediately after your cleanings can be used to detect damage done in between visits and to create a treatment plan that protects the long-term health of your smile.

If you have tartar on your teeth, it’s time to contact Austin dentist Dr. John Schmid for a professional cleaning and examination. We welcome patients from Round Rock and all surrounding areas at our advanced and comfortable Austin dental office.