Have you ever looked at someone’s teeth and seen a yellow crust-like build-up where the teeth and gums meet? That’s tartar, also known as calculus, and it is not something you want to see in your own mouth.

What is Tartar?

No matter how well you look after your teeth, you still have some bacteria in your mouth. This is completely normal, but if you don’t keep your teeth clean, the bacteria multiply and bonds with proteins and other food byproducts to form that unpleasant sticky film you feel on your teeth after a long day. This is called plaque and if it isn’t removed regularly by brushing, will lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Even if you brush your teeth regularly, if you don’t do it thoroughly plaque will build up in cavities and crevices between the teeth and along the gum line. If it remains on the teeth long enough it will harden into tartar, a rough, porous material similar to limescale.

What Does Tartar Do to the Teeth?

Tartar forms on the teeth above and below the gum line. It makes brushing and flossing harder, which only aggravates the problem. Over time, the tartar will start forcing the gums away from the teeth and creating pockets. These pockets fill with bacteria that can cause gum disease and eventually lead to receding gums.

Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease can be reversed. This will require regular cleanings from your dentist as well as a strict and rigorous regime of brushing, flossing and the use of antiseptic mouthwash.

If gingivitis is allowed to develop to the point where your gums become infected, it has become the more serious condition known as periodontitis. As your system tries to fight the infection, it can damage the bone and tissue holding your teeth in place. The bacteria that causes gum disease has also been linked to heart disease and other medical conditions.

Can Brushing Remove Tartar?

Unfortunately not. Tartar is to hard to be removed by the bristles of a toothbrush.

Can Tartar Be Removed?

can brushing remove tartar

Yes, but the only one who knows how to remove tartar from teeth is your dentist. It requires specialized scraping instruments and expert knowledge of the anatomy of the mouth to avoid doing further damage to the gums. Heavy tartar removal will probably require multiple sessions to complete.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Any tips you might hear or read about home removal of tartar are potentially dangerous and definitely ineffective. The best we can do is give you advice on how to avoid a tartar build up in the first place.

Here they are:

• Brush twice a day for at least 2 MINUTES a time. A 30-second rub won’t do anything. Make sure your brush is soft-bristled and the right size for your mouth. And don’t forget about the hard to reach places at the back of the mouth and between your teeth.

• Using an electric toothbrush has been shown to be slightly more effective at removing plaque. Rotating brushes being the most effective. Whatever type of toothbrush you do use, make sure it has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval.

• Floss at least once a day. Plaque can hide between your teeth and harden into tartar.

• Avoid sugary foods and drinks. These contribute to the rapid spread of plaque and tooth decay.

• Use a tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride, which will help repair damaged enamel.

If it’s too late for these tips and tartar is already forming on your teeth, you’ll need a professional to remove it. Book an appointment here at Gables Sedation Dentistry today and avoid developing a more serious condition in the future.