What Exactly is Tartar?
Teeth are tough. Covered by enamel, the hardest substance in your body, your teeth can handle a lot of wear and tear. But if you allow plaque to build up and harden, you may be at risk of developing tartar. Tartar can wreak havoc on your dental health and lead to gum disease.
Tartar — also known as calculus — is an accumulation of plaque and minerals from your saliva that harden. Tartar can coat the exterior of teeth and invade below the gumline. Tartar feels like a crusty blanket on teeth. Because it’s porous, food and drink can easily stain tartar.
even if you take great care of your teeth at home, you still have bacteria in your mouth. They mix with proteins and food byproducts to form a sticky film called dental plaque. This gunk coats your teeth gets under your gum line and sticks to fillings or other dental work. Plaque carries bacteria that can damage tooth enamel and lead to cavities. But if you remove plaque regularly, you can prevent permanent tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque can be a pale yellow color, but it can also be colorless making it difficult to see. That’s why it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene and see your dental professional every 6 months for a checkup. They may use dental mirrors to spot plaque in hard-to-see places and scrape the plaque between your teeth with a dental scaler. Every set of teeth is unique, so ask your dentist for brushing and flossing tips to help address plaque buildup. Tartar can make it harder to brush and floss as you should. This can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
What causes tartar?
Tartar or plaque is a combination of bacteria and an extracellular matrix that adheres to the outer surface of the tooth. When saliva, food, and fluids combine in your mouth they produce an environment that allows the bacteria to grow and deposit which collects on teeth and gums and especially where the teeth and gums meet. Common foods that contribute to plaque formation and growth include those containing carbohydrates, or simple sugars, such as sucrose and starches, found in soft drinks and candy.
Eating foods high in sugar like cakes, sweets, and fruit can cause an increase in plaque bacteria. Plaque bacteria can lead to gingivitis, caries, and advanced gum disease, so it is important to take steps for treatment and prevention.
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How can you prevent tartar from building up?
Stop tartar by stopping plaque, Plaque can harden into tartar in a matter of hours, which is why it’s so important to brush and floss daily. We at Platinum Dental Surgery Recommends the following:
Commit to brushing your teeth twice a day. Brush your teeth twice daily with antiplaque toothpaste that also contains fluoride. Aim for 2 minutes of brushing twice per day.
Floss at least once a day. IF you are a patient of Platinum Dental Surgery or you have been following our social media pages you will know we stress the importance of cleaning between your teeth to remove plaque and help prevent cavities or gum disease, especially in areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Get regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. The only way to remove tartar is by getting a dental cleaning with a dental professional. Try to aim for a checkup and dental cleaning every 6 months. If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend other treatments.
Get a High-Quality Toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can go a long way in helping to prevent plaque buildup, but you must be sure to change the head every three months for optimal performance. If you don’t like electric toothbrushes, just be sure to find a quality manual toothbrush and replace it every three months. If the bristles begin to wear down before that time period, replace it anyway, as they will not be as effective and cleaning your teeth and removing plaque
Avoid Smoking and Sugary Foods. Smoking or consuming an excessive amount of sugary foods can lead to excessive plaque buildup which will ultimately become tartar. Try to stay away from soft drinks and foods such as cakes, candy, and other sweets that are high in sugar. Sugars are breeding grounds for bacteria, and the buildup in your mouth can lead to plaque that may cause more serious oral health problems down the line. Prevention is one of the keys to remaining tartar-free.
It’s important that you do your part to keep your teeth free of plaque and tartar! Schedule an appointment today at Platinum Dental Surgery to make sure that your teeth are clean and that any existing issues are dealt with. Between appointments, keep the above steps in mind to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth strong.