Tartar makes it harder to brush and floss and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. If you allow tartar to build up, you may eventually need to have your teeth capped or even removed. Here is everything you need to know about how to get rid of tartar as well as tartar causes and prevention – best recommendations from dentist in Bolton.
What is Tartar?
Our mouths have bacteria. When the bacteria mix with proteins and food by-products, they form dental plaque. Dental plaque is a sticky film that coats the teeth, gets under the gum line, and sticks to fillings and other dental works. When plaque accumulates on the teeth, it hardens into tartar. Tartar, also called calculus, forms along the gum line (called supragingival) and within the narrow sulcus between the teeth and the gingiva (called subgingival).
How Tartar Affects Teeth and Gums
You should go for tarter removal because of its devastating effects on teeth and gums. Removing tartar is important because:
- Tartar provides the ideal environment for bacteria accumulation and can cause gum disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease.
- Tartar build-up can cause a severe form of periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when the gingiva is so irritated that there is a loss of the connective tissue fibres attaching the teeth and bones to the gum, which can cause the gums to begin receding. Receding gums are painful since they expose the roots, making every little bit of liquid, food, or air that touches your oral cavity painful.
- Tartar on teeth makes it more difficult to floss and brush your teeth as you should. This leads to cavities and tooth decay.
- Some studies show that bacteria in gum disease can cause heart disease and other health problems.
What Causes Tartar Build-Up?
Tartar builds up due to the precipitation of minerals from gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) and saliva in dental plaque. The precipitation process kills the bacterial cells within the plaque, but it causes a hardened, rough surface that is the ideal surface for further plaque formation. Note some tartar can form even without plaque deposits by the process of direct mineralization of the pellicle.
Supragingival tartar formation is most common on the upper jaw (maxillary) molars and the lower jaw (mandibular) incisors because these areas experience high salivary flow due to their proximity to the sublingual and parotid salivary glands. On the other hand, Subgingival tartar forms below the gum line and is typically darker in colour due to the presence of black-pigmented bacteria whose cells have a layer of iron from heme which they get during gingival bleeding.
How to Stop Tartar from Building Up
Preventing plaque and tartar build-up saves your teeth and reduces visits to the dentist’s office. Proven tips to prevent and reduce tartar build-up include:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, with each scrub lasting at least 2 minutes. The toothbrush should have soft bristles that are small enough to fit into hard-to-reach areas. You should brush smarter, not harder.
- Go for an American Dental Association (ADA) approved electronic/powered toothbrush.
- Use tartar-control toothpaste that has fluoride as an active component. Fluoride helps repair damaged enamel. You should also be on the lookout for toothpaste with triclosan, pyrophosphates or zinc citrate, which helps fight bacteria in plaque.
- Floss, floss, and floss some more. Dental floss reaches hard-to-reach places between your teeth where no toothbrush can reach to help reduce tartar buildup. Rinse daily using an antiseptic mouthwash. Rinsing kills plaque-causing bacteria.
- Watch your diet. Starchy and sugary foods encourage the growth of plaque-causing bacteria. When exposed to these foods, the bacteria release harmful acids. Eat a healthy diet, always brush your teeth, and drink plenty of water during and after a meal.
- Avoid smoking. Studies show that cigarette smoke and other tobacco products encourage the growth of tartar.
Removing Tartar at Home
If you already have tartar, the good news is that you can get rid of it from the comfort of your home. Below are proven tips on how to remove tartar at home:
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is basic, helping neutralize harmful acids. It also kills bacteria and helps whiten teeth. Put some baking soda on a wet toothbrush and scrub the teeth and gums thoroughly. Leave the baking soda on for about 15 minutes before your rinse.
- White Vinegar: White vinegar is acetic and helps kill bacteria and prevent infections. Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a glass of warm water and dissolve some salt. Gargle the solution at least once a day to help remove tartar between the teeth and on the gums.
- Orange Peels: Orange peels have antimicrobial properties and vitamin C. The properties cut through plaque and tartar and help prevent microbial growth on teeth. You can simply rub the orange peel along the teeth and gums or make a paste using mashed bits of the inner side of the peel and mix the paste with water.
- Green Tea: A 2019 studyfound that drinking green tea may reduce the bacteria levels in the mouth. You can take tea or use a mouthwash that contains tea.
- Water Flosser: A water flosser is a hand-held device that pulses water into the space between teeth, removing debris and bacteria.
- Chewing: Chew anything that promotes saliva production since saliva helps wash away harmful bacteria. This includes sugar-free chewing gum, veggies, and fresh fibrous fruits.
- Mouthwash: You can use a mouthwash that contains cetylpyridinium, chlorhexidine, or other bacteria-fighting ingredients. Some mouthwashes contain essential oils that also fight tartar and plaque.
How a Dentist Can Help to Remove Tartar
If you have a bad tartar problem, you will need to see a dental hygienist. Professional tartar removal techniques include:
- Hand instruments: Dental hygienists use specially designed tools to remove plaque and tartar. These tools include chisels, sickle scalers, universals and area-specific curettes, files, jaquettes, and hoes.
- Ultrasonic scalers: Ultrasonic or power scalers are effective in plaque, tartar, and stain removal. These scalers are used for root planing, surgical debridement, and curettage. There are piezoelectric and magnetostrictive ultrasonic scalers – both types using oscillating materials vibrating at high speeds (between 18,000 and 50,000 hertz) in different vibration patterns.
- Near-ultraviolet and near-infrared lasers: Lasers like Er, Cr: YSGG get into hard-to-reach areas where traditional hand instrumentation cannot get. They work quickly without affecting the underlying healthy tooth structure.
At Smiles on Queen Dentistry, our experienced and well-equipped team will not only help you in cleaning tartar off teeth, but we will also educate you on how to prevent tartar formation and how to get rid of tartar at home. We take the safety of our Bolton, ON clients seriously and only use the highest quality products and procedures.