At some point in our life, possibly sitting in a chair in a dentist’s office, you may have heard mention of the word tartar.
And of course you know that not your brushing teeth and eating sugary foods will lead to dental decay. But what is the connection here? How is tartar connected to dental decay, cavities, even tooth loss?
To understand the dental decay process, we have to understand what tartar is, where it comes from, and the threat it poses to your teeth and oral health.
At Comfort Dental Centre Buderim, we’d like to share some information about tartar, how it can harm your dental health, and what we can do about it, together. We’re giving you 7 tips to control tartar build up.
What is Tartar?
Tartar (sometimes called calculus in the dental office) is a rough, porous mineral buildup that forms on your teeth at the gum line or below. Tartar forms when plaque is allowed to stay on teeth and harden. While plaque is hard to see, tartar has a yellowish or brownish colour and can be quite unattractive.
Estimates are that nearly 70% of all adults have some tartar build up. Younger children and older adults are at increased risk, along with smokers, people undergoing orthodontic work, and those suffering from dry mouth.
Why Worry About Tartar?
While tartar is not immediately harmful or dangerous, it can eventually lead to a number of problems if you do not take care of it:
- Tartar gives plaque more surface area on which to stick, and an easier surface to adhere to. This gives bacteria a convenient spot to grow.
- That bacteria, in turn, causes cavities and irritates your gums, eventually causing gum disease.
- Because tartar is porous, like a cotton shirt or a granite countertop, it easily absorbs stains from foods like coffee, tea, and red wine. Cigarette smoke also adheres to plaque, leading to noticeably more yellow teeth.
- Tartar can impede proper brushing and flossing. This is another step on the way to even more tooth decay and cavities.
7 Tips to Fight Tartar
The best strategy is to not let tartar form on your teeth, basically by rooting out plaque. Here are 7 tips to fight tartar.
- Brush regularly, twice a day for 2 minutes a time, being sure to allow 30 seconds for each quadrant of the mouth. A brief scrub twice daily won’t remove plaque and thus prevent tartar. Use a brush with soft bristles that easily fits into your mouth. Be careful to get to the hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and on your rear molars.
- Studies have found that electronic toothbrushes may get rid of plaque better than manual models. Electronic toothbrushes are also easier to use for children, seniors, and people suffering from mobility or flexibility problems. Also, many electronic toothbrushes have built-in timers, which can be very helpful.
- Choose a tartar-control toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride helps repair enamel damage. Some products also contain triclosan, which fights the bacteria that plaque contains.
- Floss like a maniac. No matter how great you are with a toothbrush, you do not reach between the teeth. Dental floss is one of the best ways to root out plaque between your teeth and keep tartar out of these hard-to-reach areas.
- Rinse daily. Use an antiseptic mouthwash daily to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
- Eat properly. Oral bacteria loves sugary and starchy foods. When they get exposure to these kinds of foods, they excrete harmful acids. Eating a mouth-healthy diet and limiting the amount of sugary foods you eat, cuts back on the foods that bacteria eat. This also goes for snacks. Each time you eat, you feed the bacteria in your mouth, and if you eat constantly, you are feeding them constantly. We aren’t saying give up treats entirely. Rather, be mindful about how often you indulge, what you eat, and of brushing and rinsing thoroughly, even after snacks.
- Don’t smoke. For many reasons.
Once tartar has formed, only your Comfort Dental Centre Buderim dentist will be able to remove it from your teeth. So, visit your dentist every 6 months to remove any plaque and tartar that might have formed and to prevent further problems.
Our in-office process to remove tartar is scaling. During scaling, your dentist or hygienist uses specially-designed tools to scrape tartar from your teeth, both above and below your gumline.
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim Cares
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim provides expert care for healthy, beautiful smiles. When you leave our office not only will you be happy with the treatment you received, but also how well you were treated.
We serve patients from Buderim and surrounding areas with top-notch dentistry. Our dental practice in Buderim provides the highest quality of dental care, in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, with a commitment to excellent customer service.
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Call (07) 5370 8865 or visit us at T204B 32 Wises Road in Buderim