Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Let’s Talk About Tartar August 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:54 pm

Dental tartar… what is it? Tartar, also called calculus, is basically calcified plaque. Plaque is the sticky biofilm that bacteria coat your teeth with as they digest and breed in your mouth. This plaque eventually mineralizes, hardening into what we call tartar. Tartar is a combination of mineral build up and organic matter (bacteria). Yuk!
How quickly plaque turns into tartar may depend on a variety of factors, and typical estimates are in the range of  20-30 hours, with 24 hours being a common guideline. Once tartar has formed, it is very hard to remove and requires a dental professional with specialized skills and tools. When you come in for a cleaning and the hygienist uses that metal scraper and/or a small ultrasonic instrument around your teeth before polishing them, this is the part of the cleaning that removes that stubborn tartar from your teeth.
Although only a dental professional can remove tartar once it is on your teeth, you can fight tartar too with tools as simple as your toothbrush and floss! Preventing tartar by diligent plaque removal is actually the best way to combat it.  Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristled brush and proper flossing daily can help prevent plaque from building up and becoming tartar. Want to step up the game? Electronic toothbrushes may be even batter at preventing tartar buildup than regular ones. Also, sugary and starchy foods may contribute to increased tartar because they encourage more plaque, so limiting them may help curtail tartar too.
Remember, you have to combat plaque very day, because it only takes about that long for it to become tartar. Tartar can interfere with effective teeth brushing and flossing, making tooth decay more likely, and tartar above the gum line can lead to gum disease, so get a good profession dental cleaning so you can effectively remove plaque every day.  Even with the best daily hygiene routine, small amounts of plaque can be missed and turn into tartar, so regular dental cleanings are needed. Tartar is not only bad for the health of your teeth and gums, but it also contributes to bad breath. Tartar is just really bad stuff!
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are always here to help answer your questions about preventing tartar build-up. We can help instruct you on the best flossing and brushing techniques, and we have electric toothbrushes available for purchase that can hep you get the job done even better and easier, keeping your smile bright, healthy, and tartar-free!

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