When talking about dental health, you’ve likely heard about plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth. But, when you don’t remove the plaque, it will eventually harden, calcify, and become what we call tartar.
It’s important to remove tartar – not only does it look bad, but it can cause other medical conditions such as clogged arteries and respiratory illnesses.
If you have been wondering about tartar removal, this guide will help you. We share the best ways of approaching it and maintaining dental health to avoid experiencing plaque build-up altogether. Read on to learn about keeping your teeth healthy and beautiful.
What Is Tartar?
Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is a type of plaque that has hardened over time. Plaque occurs when the bacteria in your mouth builds up to become a biofilm. This biofilm coats your teeth – usually gathering around your gums and decaying them. When it is not cleaned correctly during regular hygienist services, the plaque becomes tartar.
Dental calculus is known to easily absorb stains, meaning that if you have tartar on your teeth, consuming things such as coffee, wine, or smoking tobacco will more easily stain the tartar and leave dark pigments or marks.
How to Tell if You Have Tartar Buildup
It is likely to be quite apparent if you have tartar buildup. Dental calculus is very different from plaque in that it is hard, so it’s easy to feel the texture of it on your teeth. It can be pretty easy to spot because of its consistency and roughness.
There are two types of dental calculus: supragingival and subgingival. Supragingival forms above the gum line and is usually visibly yellow or tan. Subgingival forms below the gum line and is typically brown or black.
If you run your tongue over your teeth and feel a change in their usual consistency, try and book an appointment with your dentist. Organizing tartar removal now will save you a mountain of trouble later as the dental calculus remaining will decay your teeth and destroy your enamel.
Why Should You Remove Tartar?
Tartar removal is essential because of the long-term health effects it can cause. As touched upon, dental calculus is known to enhance and accelerate tooth decay. But it also has further long-lasting effects.
Research shows that tartar is linked to many severe long-term health issues. These include:
- Increased chance of cancer mortality
- Blood sugar issues
- Heart disease
- Respiratory issues
On top of this, dental calculus is unsightly – particularly as it advances. It’s important to pay attention to your health, and having bright, healthy teeth is an aesthetic bonus.
Can You Remove Tartar at Home?
No, tartar removal at home is not recommended. This is because the built-up plaque is incredibly hard, and you can damage your teeth if a nonprofessional starts scraping away at them.
There are, however, a few home methods to reduce plaque before it becomes dental calculus. This includes regular brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing under the gumline. You can also brush with a mixture of water and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which acts as a gentle abrasive that helps buff off plaque and lift surface stains from the teeth.
However, once it has progressed to tartar the plaque is far too hard to remove with at-home brushing.Instead, book an appointment with your hygienist. Once your tartar has been removed, focus on preventative methods after that.
Why You Should Go to a Dentist to Remove Tartar
A dentist has years of experience in oral hygiene, including identifying and removing the tartar. A dentist can efficiently conduct tartar removal without damaging your teeth.
Dentists effectively remove tartar with specially designed equipment, including tools such as an ultrasonic device. The duration depends on the amount of tartar in your mouth, but the process usually takes about 35-45 minutes for a full cleaning.
Using water and oscillation, the device will eliminate the bacteria build-up and the discoloration. Then, to perfect the removal, the dentist will usually use hand tools to get at any remaining parts of the tartar.
The process can sometimes be a little painful, especially if there is some tooth decay or work needs to be done near the gum line. But the dental practitioner will work with you to make sure your mouth is appropriately anesthetized.
How to Prevent Tartar Buildup
The best way to prevent tartar buildup is through regular brushing and good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled brush twice a day. Use fluoride toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash for the best possible cleaning. It is also recommended that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
Decrease your sugar and starch intake to reduce plaque and dental calculus build-up. This works because the bacteria in your mouth eat the sugars and starches from food.
You can also prevent tartar buildup by attending regular appointments with your dentist. You can book hygienist services such as fluoride treatment, gum exams, and scaling, where your teeth are given an extra thorough clean.
Top Tips for Brushing Your Teeth
The easiest way to maintain a high standard of oral hygiene, and reduce plaque, is by brushing your teeth regularly and properly. Some tips include:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline.
- Start in the back and move forward, moving the brush in small circular motions.
- Remember to brush both sides of the teeth, as well at the surfaces of the teeth that come in contact with food to chew.
- You can floss before or after you brush, but brushing alone is typically insufficient.
Taking Care of Your Oral Hygiene
After reading this guide, you should now have a better idea of why tartar removal is essential and how to prevent it. Dentists are trained and have the correct equipment to help you to remove it. The job usually takes under an hour and will make all the difference to your present and long-term oral hygiene.So if you have been worried about plaque or tartar build-up, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today. Our experienced team is always on hand to help.