Dental Calculus and Plaque

Teeth of a mature dog showing dental tartar and calculus deposition.
When dental plaque becomes mineralized, it is called DENTAL CALCULUS or TARTAR. The mineral is derived from saliva and thus the distribution of tartar is greatest near salivary duct openings in the mouth.
In dogs and cats, dental plaque and calculus commonly lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss as shown in this image.
gingivitis hedgehog.jpg Boy howdy, look at these disgusting teeth - from a British hedgehog. There is extensive plague and calculus, with severe periodontal disease and considerable loss of tooth enamel.
The bacteria in the plaque lead to plaque-associated gingivitis. Neutrophils accumulate and release lytic enzymes that cause loss of gingival collagen.
Continued infection and inflammation lead to recession of the gum (gingival-tooth detachment) and resorption of alveolar bone. The teeth fall out due to destruction of the periodontium and resorption of the alveolar bone, cementum and dentin.
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