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What Is Tartar?

A pretty smile and white teeth give you the confidence that you need for your day-to-day activities.

But more than that, healthy pearly whites also determine your overall oral health.

Even if you used the best toothbrush, the highest recommended toothpaste, and brush and floss three times a day, you might still see the dental plaque in your teeth, which could result in tartar buildup even over few hours of bacterial buildup.

Eventually, if tartar is left untreated, it could lead to a more serious problem, which could result in your teeth falling off in no time.

But what is Tartar?

Medically, tartar is called calculus. It is a condition where dental plaque hardens due to the mineral accumulation from the plaque on your teeth.

Plaque is rough on the surface of your teeth and contributes to trigger the tartar formation and can lead to the gingiva. Although plaque can be removed with good oral hygiene, once it hardens, it is strongly attached to the teeth and can hardly be removed by brushing your teeth. Only a visit to your dentist can remove the tartar.

What can tartar do to me?

According to CDC, around 90% of adults over 40 experience tooth decay. This is attributed not just purely to bad oral hygiene but because of neglecting plaque and tartar formation on the teeth.

Once tartar is formed, you cannot effectively brush and floss your teeth. This gives the bacteria an opportunity to release some acid and contribute to tooth decay. Normally tartar leads to gum diseases like gingivitis.

This is the first stage of gum disease and is highly treatable. However, if left untreated, will lead to a more advanced gum problem.

The more advanced gum problem is called periodontitis. In this case, the gums, as well as your teeth, are infected with bacteria.

Although the body’s natural defenses secrete chemicals to avoid further infection, the substances released by the bacteria can be harmful to the tissues and bones in your teeth. If left untreated, the worst case scenario includes losing your teeth.

How can I avoid tartar?

You can avoid tartar formation in many ways, including:

  • Using toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent the formation of tartar in your teeth. It also helps to repair the enamel which is washed away when tartar is formed. Special toothpaste may also include triclosan which is an antibacterial formula to fight off the bacteria buildup in your mouth.
  • Avoiding smoking is also a good way to avoid tartar formation. The nicotine from tobacco and cigarette products stain your mouth and also contribute to tartar buildup.
  • Eating healthy contributes to a healthy mouth. Bacteria thrive in starchy and sugary foods. Eating cakes, pastries, candies, drinking sodas and other items high in sugar content are a high risk for bacteria buildup. Make sure to brush your teeth after every meal or gargle with antibacterial mouthwash to cleanse your palette and mouth. Drinking lots of water can also help wash out the bacteria from your mouth.
  • Regular brushing and flossing. Brushing alone cannot remove the bacteria completely. Remember that plaque can grow in between teeth and these are the areas that cannot be reached by brushing alone. Don’t forget to floss to get the spaces in between your teeth to be bacteria-free.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

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