What is the Difference Between Plaque and Calculus?

When you think “calculus”, you may be having flashbacks (and likely not favourable ones) from your high school or post-secondary days. It’s safe to say that everyone knows what plaque is…but not so much with calculus.

So what’s the difference?

Plaque:  plaque and calculus

  • Is a sticky, colorless film
  • Continually forms on your teeth
  • Houses bacteria
  • Secretes acids that lead to tooth decay and gum irritation
  • Can lead to periodontal disease and gingivitis


  • When plaque is not removed by flossing, brushing, and professional dental cleanings by a dental hygienist, it hardens and turns into calculus
  • It can ONLY be removed by a dental professional

So as you can see, these are just more reasons why you need to adhere to a solid oral hygiene routine: twice a day for two minutes at a time, including flossing.

Book an appointment with your dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months.

If you are located in Surrey, we would love to have you as a patient at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry. Call us today: (604) 593-8201.