Imagine someone smiles at you but all you can notice are their stained teeth? That’s tartar. Unfortunately, tartar can ruin many ‘perfect’ smiles and impact our oral health negatively. So, it is best to keep it away and to do that, you should first understand what tartar really is.
What is tartar?
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Throughout the day, we eat a variety of food items. And the bacteria present in the mouth have a field day interacting with those food particles and form a sticky white coating on the surface of the teeth. This white coating is also known as plaque. Poor oral hygiene allows this plaque to accumulate over time and turn into a hard substance known as dental tartar or dental calculus. When it forms below the gum line, it can turn black or brown, and when it forms over the gum line, it can stain the teeth yellow.
How to control tartar buildup
Don’t get into the panic mode already! If you have tartar buildup, then you can simply visit the dentist for dental calculus removal procedure. Your dentist will remove tartar through the process of scaling, which will loosen tartar on teeth and help scrape it off. But having said that, tartar is totally preventable, if one takes care of their teeth and follows a proper dental care routine. Here are some tips on how you can prevent the buildup of tartar:
- Avoid staining foods and beverages
- Quit smoking
- Maintain good oral hygiene
- Don’t let your mouth go dry
- Get your teeth professionally cleaned
- Certain teeth-staining foods can not only cause plaque buildup but also worsen the tartar situation. That means beverages like coffee and red wine are an absolute no-no. Also avoid foods and drinks such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, soft drinks, dark juices, popsicles, and more.
- Ever noticed a chain smoker’s teeth? It ain’t a pretty sight. Smoking can stain the teeth and lead to tartar buildup. People who smoke have more tartar on their teeth than non-smokers. It can also be because the nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva production, allowing bacteria and tartar to accumulate in the mouth more easily. So, quitting smoking is a good idea if you want to control tartar accumulation.
- That means brushing twice a day; preferably thrice if you are prone to plaque accumulation. But twice is an absolute must - once in the morning and then, before you tuck yourself in bed at night. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an Oral-B electric toothbrush for better results. Follow it up with a dental-approved mouthwash to kill the bacteria in the mouth that is responsible for tartar. And don’t even think about skipping flossing. Floss your teeth twice a day to remove any miniscule food particles or plaque hidden between the teeth. It is an effective measure to prevent tartar buildup in the future.
- Dry mouth isn’t just a source of bad breath, less saliva production can also increase the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth and contribute to plaque and formation of tartar. Saliva has a cleansing effect and washes away the bacteria present in your mouth, so it is important to keep the mouth moist. Stay hydrated and don’t go long hours without eating. You can also chew a dental-approved and sugar-free gum to promote saliva production during the day.
- Even if the thought scares you or makes you nervous, do visit the dentist once every six months. Doing so will substantially decrease the chances of tartar buildup as you can get your teeth cleaned with advanced tools and remove all the plaque that may have accumulated on the surface of the teeth. Your dental expert can also guide you on how to take better care of your teeth and prevent the risk of tartar and other teeth and gum conditions.
Tartar can be controlled and prevented with the right measures. It is important to follow a good dental hygiene routine and visit the dentist timely. It is also crucial to use advanced dental products such as the Oral-B electric toothbrushes to clean the teeth thoroughly and prevent the accumulation of plaque.
Interested to know more about plaque and tartar? Here’s a complete guide on dental plaque and tartar.