Removing tartar is not a DIY project! Only a dental hygienist can safely do it.
Tartar is one of the most harmful materials that can form on your teeth. Also known as dental calculus, tartar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. So removing tartar is essential to keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
But what is the best way to get rid of tartar? Anti-tartar mouthwashes currently on the market promote their tartar-busting properties. But scientific studies have yet to document their effectiveness. While it’s probably safe to try such products, the most successful tools in dissolving tartar are good daily oral hygiene practices and regular visits to your dental hygienist.
What is tartar?
Tartar results from a buildup of plaque, an invisible, sticky substance that clings to your teeth. What makes plaque so damaging are the acids and bacteria hidden within it that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. If not removed, plaque mixes with the minerals in saliva and eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar typically forms along the lower front teeth and inside the upper molars.
Getting rid of plaque is the first step in controlling tartar buildup. Plaque tends to stick to calcified tartar, leading to even more tartar buildup. And it’s much harder to remove hardened tartar.
If the tartar grows along the gumline, it can irritate the gums and cause bleeding and inflammation. That’s the first sign of gum disease or gingivitis. Since tartar is porous, it takes on the color of darkened liquids, such as coffee or tea. One of the initial signs of tartar accumulation is a gradual yellowing or darkening of the teeth.
But there are other signs. When you swish your tongue in your mouth, you may feel a rough substance along your teeth that brushing doesn’t remove. So what can you do to remove tartar?
How to remove tartar safely
The only person who can successfully remove hardened tartar is a dental hygienist. These dental professionals have years of training and experience spotting and removing tartar. They are skilled in using metal tools to scrape away the tartar, a technique known as scaling. An ultrasonic device can also strip away the tartar with micro-vibrations. Your dentist may also use a perioscopy to probe the tight spaces between your teeth and check for tartar buildup.
Attempting to remove tartar on your own with sharp instruments is not advisable. It could do more harm than good! You may damage your teeth and gums. Leave it to the professionals, like your dental hygienist. Anti-tartar rinses are not the answer until they are proven effective.
Yet you have tools ready to prevent or reduce tartar buildup. Brushing and flossing every day keep plaque at bay. And while they may taste great, sweet snacks and drinks are the biggest culprits in plaque formation. The sugars in sweets increase the amount of bacteria in the mouth, leading to plaque and tartar. Limit your intake of sweets if you want to cut down on tartar.
But the most effective tool you have in combating tartar is your semi-annual visit to the dental hygienist for a thorough checkup and cleaning. After the visit, your teeth will feel healthier and look better because the tartar will be gone!
Make that appointment now!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Fort Collins location today! Our highly trained dentists and hygienists can thoroughly clean your teeth and banish tartar. Don’t live near our Fort Collins, Colorado office? Find one of our other locations near you.
2117 Custer Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80525