Biofilm is the term now being used in dentistry to refer to plaque. The terms are interchangeable and plaque is still the term most commonly used today.
Biofilm is a more descriptive term because it refers to the colonies of biological (living) bacteria and viruses that build up on the sides of the teeth and gums.
These colonies of bacteria and viruses (biofilm) are responsible for almost all of the problems in the mouth.
The bacteria irritate the gums, cause inflammation, destroy tooth structure, and produce odors (bad breath). The viruses compromise your bodies defenses.
Together this “biofilm” causes gum disease and cavities (which can lead to tooth loss)and bad breath and can seriously affect your overall health.
Over time, as the bacterial colonies age, calculus (tartar) builds up on the teeth.
Calculus (tartar) is like barnacles on a ship. It is a combination of dead bacteria and minerals from your saliva.
It is inert (non-living), hard, porous, and strongly attached to the teeth. It provides a safe haven for more biofilm (plaque) to build up on the teeth and makes it even more difficult for you to remove the bacteria.
You can remove biofilm (plaque) with dailybrushing andflossing, and thereby, slow the build up of calculus (tartar). The calculus (tartar) can only be removed using dental instruments (typically by your hygienist).