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What Is Tartar?

We all know that we should brush and floss our teeth at least twice a day but some of us do not know all the reasons why it is essential to maintain proper oral hygiene. In addition to keeping your breath fresh, regular and proper oral health prevents plaque and tartar buildup. When you neglect to brush your teeth regularly, food debris is left behind on your teeth and in between the teeth. Plaque forms when certain foods that contain carbohydrates are left on the teeth due to improper oral hygiene. Over time this plaque will continue to build up and harden. Once it hardens, we refer to it as calculus or tartar.

Why Is It Bad For My Oral Health?

Tartar can form on teeth and even under your gums. Once it hardens, it is not possible to remove it with brushing and flossing alone. The tartar buildup will begin to irritate your gums and will cause bleeding of the gums. Bleeding gums are a sign of early gingivitis, also known as gum disease. Gum disease can be treated without permanent damage to your gums if proper oral hygiene is done at home and you get regular dental hygiene treatment. If gum disease is left untreated, it will progress to periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis. Periodontal disease results in permanent bone and gum tissue loss. If the causes of this disease are treated, it can be stopped but the damage that has occurred can only be treated with bone grafts or tissue grafts.

This buildup will usually continue to increase in size until it is removed by your dental professional. Having this hardened tartar will make it harder to floss and brush your teeth effectively.

tartar removal before and after photo

Image showing tartar buildup on teeth, before and after a dental cleaning.

How Is It Treated?

Once it hardens, it can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. Once the cleaning is completed, proper oral home care education is taught so that you can keep and maintain your oral health. It is advisable to use an anti-tartar toothpaste as well. Some patients may benefit from using an electric toothbrush because some models may be better at plaque removal than using a manual toothbrush if the correct brushing technique is not used.

The best means of prevention is by flossing. Flossing removes hard to reach plaque buildup in between teeth that brushing alone cannot clean and access. Limiting sugary foods will also help because bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugary foods and carbohydrates.

If you have tartar buildup or your gums often bleed, especially during brushing, you should see your dentist.

 

About Dr. Joseph Salvaggio

Dr. Joseph Salvaggio, DDS

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Located in Brampton, Ontario Dr. Joseph Salvaggio has been practicing general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry for over 20 years. He enjoys interacting with his patients and helping to restore their oral health for better overall health as well. Meeting new patients, interacting and educating them is one of Dr. Salvaggio’s biggest joys. We encourage you to read our reviews or call us with any dental questions you have. We look forward to speaking with you and meeting you soon.

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