What is Tartar?

Tartar, also referred to as calculus, is hardened plaque that forms gradually on the gum line over time. When plaque is not properly cleaned off, it mixes with the saliva from your mouth which forms into a sticky film. Over time, that substance hardens and becomes tartar.

Even those who are particularly dedicated to keeping their teeth clean will have some tartar forming between visits to the dentist. However, with proper care you can keep your tartar buildup to a minimum and can even remove tartar that has already formed.

Signs of Tartar Buildup

Plaque and tartar buildup happens gradually, and so it may be difficult to tell right away that you have it. By the eye, it may appear to have a yellowish color where the tooth meets the gum line (though tartar can also be colorless). It will also feel rough and coarse, and may block access to your gum line and the small gaps between your teeth, making brushing and flossing a challenge.

You may also notice some discoloration where the tartar is, as tartar is easily stained by tea, wine, or other foods and beverages.

How Does Tartar Impact Your Oral Health?

Over time, tartar can inflame and infect your gums, leading to periodontal disease and other oral health issues. As a hard, solid substance, tartar also makes it very difficult for you to clean your teeth. This can lead to a snowballing effect where the tartar buildup itself is preventing you from keeping your teeth clean and healthy.

How to Remove Tartar From Teeth

1. Get Back to Good Habits

If you’re experiencing a high rate of tartar buildup, it’s probably because you aren’t practicing good oral health habits. Get back on the horse and you’ll begin to see the results. This means…

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day for two full minutes at a time, getting every area of your mouth
  • Switching to an electric toothbrush
  • Flossing once daily
  • Using a therapeutic mouthrinse after brushing
  • Regularly washing any retainers or night guards that you wear

At your next checkup, your dentist will be able to provide you with specific instructions on how you can improve your cleaning routines to reduce the buildup of tartar based on your circumstances.

2. Use Tartar Control Toothpaste

Some people are naturally more prone to plaque and tartar buildup than others. So, even if you practice good oral health habits, you may find that your regular dental checkups are more unpleasant as a result.

Fortunately, most major toothpaste brands sell toothpaste that is geared specifically towards plaque and tartar prevention and removal. If you are prone to tartar growth, this may be a good option for you to counteract it.

3. Brush With Baking Soda

If you’re looking for instant relief, one of the best home remedies is to put a little bit of baking soda on a wet toothbrush, then to brush your teeth with it. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse your mouth.

This can be done daily to aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Using this technique more than once a day can lead to a negative impact on your oral health.

4. Visit the Dentist

The easiest and most straightforward way to have plaque and tartar removed is through your twice-annual checkup at the dentist. During your checkup, the dentist will remove any buildup on your teeth and will provide you with instruction on how you can prevent future tartar buildup.

If you are particularly anxious about visiting the dentist, know that there are options for you to make your visit smoother and more comfortable.

How to Prevent Tartar Buildup

1. Good Oral Health Habits

The easiest way to prevent tartar buildup is to practice good oral health habits. This means brushing your teeth at least twice per day with an electric toothbrush and flossing at least once daily. You should also be visiting the dentist at least twice annually for regular checkups and cleanings to remove plaque and tartar that builds up over time.

2. Watch Your Diet

What you eat can have an impact on how quickly bacteria forms in your mouth, and thus how quickly tartar builds up. Starchy and sugary foods stick to the teeth more easily, leading to the growth of bacteria in your mouth more easily. Limit your daily sugar intake and your tartar buildup will slow.

3. Quit Smoking

Smokers have a higher rate of plaque and tartar buildup than non-smokers. Smoking can be harmful to all facets of your oral health, and tartar buildup is no exception.

Tartar Removal in Arlington, VA

If you are looking for fast and effective tartar removal, get a professional teeth cleaning done at CNS Dental, a family dentist in Arlington, VA. During your checkup, we’ll provide a complete examination of your oral health and will remove any tartar buildup you may have. We are currently taking new patients, so enroll today and book your appointment.