I’m sure you’ve heard about plaque before but are you familiar with tartar? Tartar is what forms if you don’t properly remove the plaque from your teeth. And if it’s left to develop over time it can cause a whole slew of health-related problems, so it’s important to have it removed as soon as you notice the signs. To make sure you know what to look for, today we’ll explain what exactly tartar is, how it forms on our teeth, and what you can do to prevent it from happening.
What Is Tartar?
Tartar, also known as calculus, refers to the hardened mineral buildup that forms on your teeth and below the gum line. Unlike plaque, which is invisible, tartar has a rough surface texture and forms as a yellow or brown colour. Once it has developed, it’s often next to impossible to remove with regular brushing, requiring specialized tools, such as scalers, to eliminate the tartar from your teeth. And what makes it so dangerous is that it can lead to periodontitis, tooth decay and other severe dental and health problems, such as jaw bone degradation and heart disease, if left untreated.
How Does It Form?
Each one of us has bacteria that live inside our mouth. These bacteria love sugary treats just as much as we do, so when we eat foods that containing sugar and starches, the bacteria goes to work eating up any left-over food particles and excreting acids that turn into dental plaque. And if not brushed away, this sticky, clear biofilm will absorb calcium and other substances in the food and saliva until it hardens into tartar. Then once the tartar has built upon the existing plaque, it becomes darker, denser and difficult to remove.
How Can You Prevent Tartar Buildup?
To prevent tartar, it’s important to brush and floss regularly, visit your dentist every 3 to 4 months, and limit your intake of sugary and starchy foods. With each brushing, you should also make sure to get at all the hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and rear molars. If tartar buildup becomes visible, you should book an appointment with your dentist immediately and purchase a tartar-control toothpaste that will help repair any enamel damage and fight the bacteria until your dental appointment.
If you suspect you have tartar forming on your teeth, it’s time to see your dentist! With each and every cleaning at Rockcliffe Dental, we take the time to address any of the problems that may be brewing inside of your mouth like tartar built up. So make sure to book your next appointment with our team today so you can maintain healthy teeth and that beautiful smile.