How do you get rid of tartar?

More than 700 different species of bacteria live in the human mouth, existing naturally and in harmony with a healthy body. When these bacteria interact with certain foods and food byproducts, they combine to make a tacky film called plaque. This plaque is formed when bacteria feed on the carbohydrates in foods and drinks, emitting destructive acid and creating a pasty layer that sticks to the teeth, damaging dental enamel and causing cavities. Thoroughly and consistently removing plaque is one of the most effective methods of preventing gum disease and tooth decay.

Over time, however, plaque hardens, calcifying into tartar and becoming harder and harder to remove; in most cases, plaque can harden completely in just a few days. Also known as calculus, tartar forms both above and below the gum line. Its porous, coarse surface attracts additional plaque, gradually destroying the connection between the gums and the teeth and leading to gum disease, tooth loss, and general oral and dental chaos. While newly formed plaque can be removed with brushing, flossing, and antibacterial mouthwash, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional in a clinical setting.

During your routine dental checkup, your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate your oral and dental health, recommend treatment options when disease or defects are present, and thoroughly clean the teeth and the other tissues in the mouth, including the area just below the gum line. This crevice where the gums meet the teeth is particularly susceptible to plaque and tartar buildup, providing a warm, moist nook for bacteria to proliferate, and it is also very difficult to clean effectively with home hygiene. While the formation of tartar can be managed by cleaning the teeth, removing plaque with proper oral hygiene, it’s always possible for some plaque to remain after brushing and flossing, and any residual plaque can calcify and develop into tartar relatively quickly.

In addition to encouraging the onset of gum disease, tartar is unattractive and usually smells and tastes foul. The bacteria in tartar irritates the gums and can cause permanent damage, not limited to the ravages of periodontal disease. Ideally, you’ll limit the amount of tartar that is allowed to form on your teeth by following the recommendations of your dentist and your other medical practitioners, which might include dietary changes or behavior modification like smoking cessation.

Many dentists recommend electric toothbrushes for more thorough plaque removal, though any soft-bristled toothbrush will work. Make sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and don’t forget to include daily flossing or other interdental cleaning in your regular hygiene routine.

Using floss or another type of interdental cleaning tool is the best way to remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas between and around the teeth that are particularly susceptible to gum disease, and daily rinsing with antibacterial mouth rinse can complement interdental cleaning and keep the oral cavity clean after snacking throughout the day.

The bacteria that occupy plaque feed on sugars and starches, which means that a diet full of fibrous vegetables and whole grains can help limit the amount of tartar that builds up on the teeth, as can brushing after every meal and rinsing after snacks. Once it develops, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional using a dental scaling tool, but regular dental visits can also help limit the amount of tartar that forms in the first place and prevent the destruction of gum disease.


Is tartar normal on teeth