Tartar and teeth damage?

Everything we eat and drink affects the natural microbiome of the mouth, which is made up of more than 700 different types of bacteria that normally help maintain different aspects of oral health. When these bacteria digest sugars and starches, they emit acids that bond into a sticky film that adheres to the teeth. This film is called plaque and can be removed with regular brushing and flossing and periodic professional dental cleanings.

If plaque remains on the teeth for more than a day without being brushed and flossed clear, it begins to calcify, hardening into the rigid, rough substance that is dental calculus, more commonly known as tartar. If your teeth are noticeably yellow-tinged or discolored, especially at the gum line, or if they don’t feel as smooth as you’re accustomed to, you might have tartar buildup.

While tartar is usually yellowish in color, it could be colorless. Because of its rough texture, it attracts additional plaque buildup and makes this new plaque more difficult to remove, allowing it to develop into tartar; tartar deposits can be made up of multiple layers of tartar that have accumulated over time.

The first layer of tartar begins to form in about 24 hours, hardening to the point that a toothbrush isn’t strong or precise enough to remove it. As it continues to harden, tartar enters the mineralization phase, where it becomes a fully calcified material that is even more difficult to remove. While regular brushing and flossing can remove much of the plaque that builds up on the teeth and gums, every mouth has hard-to-reach areas, and it’s difficult to brush and floss perfectly, so some plaque often remains. Your dentist and dental hygienist will clean your teeth, scraping away plaque and tartar above and below the gums and polishing your teeth so that their smooth surfaces are more resistant to plaque.

Tartar does more than just make a person’s smile discolored and make their breath smell bad. Deposits of tartar make it more difficult to properly clean the teeth with brushing and flossing, since it’s impossible to clean areas of tissue that are covered with tartar; because tartar deposits can’t be brushed and flossed effectively, they attract additional layers of plaque, and the cycle of tartar buildup continues. Ineffective brushing and flossing leads to cavities, of course, and it also contributes to gum disease. In its early stages, gum disease can be reversed and the gums can return to health as inflammation subsides.

When gum disease is allowed to progress, however, it is irreversible. Advanced gum disease, called periodontitis, is characterized by the gradual destruction of the oral tissues, including gums, connective tissues, the teeth, and the bones of the jaw, and the long-term outcomes of untreated periodontitis include tooth loss and the reabsorption of the bone tissue in the jaw.

It doesn’t take very long for plaque to start to harden, and tartar can accumulate without you knowing it. Deposits of tartar don’t only damage the gums; the acids in plaque also destroy the enamel that coats and protects the teeth. In fact, this acid damage can be noticeable in just a few months after tartar develops. Prompt removal by a dental professional is the best defense against tartar buildup, and home hygiene combined with regular dental cleanings can help manage plaque before it becomes tartar and help keep your mouth and teeth strong and healthy.

Why do I get tartar so easily