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HomeTren&dUnraveling the Mystery: How to Catch a Tartar

Unraveling the Mystery: How to Catch a Tartar


Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is a common dental issue that many people face. It is a hardened form of dental plaque that can form on your teeth if plaque is not properly removed through regular oral hygiene practices. Tartar is not only unsightly but can also contribute to various dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes of tartar buildup, the risks associated with it, and most importantly, how to effectively prevent and remove tartar to maintain optimal oral health.

What Causes Tartar Buildup?

The primary cause of tartar buildup is the incomplete removal of plaque from the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth after eating or drinking sugary or starchy foods. When plaque is not removed through proper brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar within as little as 24-72 hours. Other factors that can contribute to tartar buildup include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Consuming a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Dry mouth
  • Certain medical conditions that affect saliva production

The Risks of Tartar Buildup

Tartar buildup is more than just a cosmetic issue. It can lead to a host of dental problems and complications, including:

  1. Gum Disease: Tartar buildup irritates the gums, leading to inflammation and redness. This can progress to gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, and if left untreated, to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can result in tooth loss.

  2. Cavities: Tartar provides a rough surface for plaque to adhere to, increasing the risk of cavities developing on the teeth.

  3. Bad Breath: The bacteria in tartar can emit foul odors, contributing to persistent bad breath.

  4. Discoloration: Tartar is often a yellow or brown color, which can stain the teeth and affect their appearance.

Preventing Tartar Buildup

The good news is that tartar buildup can be prevented with consistent oral hygiene practices. Here are some effective strategies to help prevent tartar buildup:

  1. Brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush in gentle, circular motions to effectively remove plaque.

  2. Flossing: Flossing helps remove plaque and debris from between the teeth and along the gumline, areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Make it a habit to floss at least once a day.

  3. Mouthwash: Use an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria in the mouth and help prevent plaque buildup.

  4. Healthy Diet: Limit sugary and starchy foods, which can contribute to plaque formation. Opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

  5. Regular Dental Visits: Schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups with your dentist. Professional cleanings can remove tartar that brushing and flossing may have missed.

Home Remedies to Remove Tartar

While professional dental cleanings are the most effective way to remove tartar, there are also some home remedies that may help reduce tartar buildup:

  1. Baking Soda: Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to create a paste. Brush your teeth with this paste to help remove tartar and brighten your smile.

  2. Oil Pulling: Swishing coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes can help reduce bacteria and plaque buildup.

  3. Fruit Peels: Rub the inside of a banana, orange, or lemon peel on your teeth for a few minutes. The natural acids in the fruit can help break down tartar.

  4. Vitamin C: Increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, kiwi, and strawberries. Vitamin C can help strengthen the gums and reduce tartar buildup.

Professional Treatment for Tartar Removal

If tartar has already formed on your teeth, professional intervention may be necessary to remove it effectively. Dental procedures for tartar removal include:

  1. Scaling: This is a deep cleaning procedure that involves the removal of tartar from the teeth and along the gumline using specialized dental tools.

  2. Root Planing: In cases of advanced gum disease, root planing may be recommended to smooth out rough areas on the roots of the teeth where bacteria can accumulate.

  3. Ultrasonic Cleaning: Ultrasonic instruments use vibrations to break apart tartar deposits, making them easier to remove.

  4. Laser Therapy: Laser technology can be used to target and remove tartar buildup with precision while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Is tartar the same as plaque?
  2. Tartar is actually a hardened form of plaque. When plaque is not removed, it can mineralize and harden into tartar.

  3. Can tartar be removed at home with a dental pick?

  4. While dental picks are available for at-home use, it is not recommended to try to remove tartar yourself. Improper removal can damage the enamel and gums.

  5. How often should I have professional cleanings to prevent tartar buildup?

  6. Most dentists recommend getting a professional cleaning every 6 months to remove tartar and plaque that regular brushing and flossing may have missed.

  7. Can tartar be prevented with mouthwash alone?

  8. Mouthwash can help reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent plaque buildup, but it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing in preventing tartar.

  9. Are there any risk factors that make someone more prone to tartar buildup?

  10. Yes, factors such as smoking, dry mouth, and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of tartar buildup.

In conclusion, tartar buildup is a common dental issue that can have serious consequences if left untreated. By maintaining good oral hygiene habits, following a balanced diet, and scheduling regular dental visits, you can effectively prevent and manage tartar to keep your smile healthy and bright. Remember, when it comes to tartar, prevention is key!