Tartar, also called calculus, forms when plaque is left on the teeth long enough to harden. Similar to barnacles that form on a docked boat, tartar cannot be simply brushed away–it must be scraped off. When tartar forms on your teeth (usually around the gumline) it can lead to receding gumlines or or other periodontal problems.
What can you do to prevent the formation of tartar on your teeth? Here are 7 tips from the American Dental Association:
1.) Don’t Smoke: Studies show that smokers experience greater tartar buildup than the average non-smoker. Who knew? One more reason to kick a smoking habit is to protect your gums and teeth from tartar.
2.) Use an Electric Toothbrush: Because tartar forms from plaque left on the teeth, using a toothbrush that is designed to remove plaque more effectively will also protect your teeth from tartar buildup.
Suggested Reading: Why We Love Electric Toothbrushes
3.) Rinse with Antiseptic : A good mouthwash (preferably with fluoride) used daily will help keep your mouth squeaky clean and free of plaque and tartar.
4.) Avoid a Diet High in Sugar: Certain foods promote the formation of tartar more than other–one dentist reported a patient with more tartar than he had ever seen. The problem? She drank an 8 oz glass of warm milk every night before bed (after brushing her teeth). Diets high in sugar or diets that simply involve a lot of snacking promote the buildup of bacteria in your mouth, which leads to the formation of tartar.
5.) Floss Every Day: Those who do not floss miss parts of their mouth where bacteria, plaque and tartar will eventually form. Is it any wonder that tartar typically forms around the gumline and between teeth? No, because that is typically where brushing cannot reach!
Suggested Reading: 4 Ways Not Flossing Becomes Obvious
6.) Brush Every Day, Twice a Day, for 2 Minutes: You know the drill. If you want to prevent tartar buildup, keep plaque off your teeth by brushing for the alotted amount of time.
7.) Use a Fluoridated Tartar-Control Toothpaste: What makes Tartar-Control Toothpaste a good investment is the added amount of fluoride (which strengthens teeth and repairs enamel) and the triclosan, a bacteria-fighting substance that fights plaque and tartar.
Dr. Chavez, a dentist in Provo , loves serving Utah County and can help scrape the barnacle-like tartar from your teeth any time you need. For more information about the importance of preventing tartar buildup and how you can avoid it, talk to him or his staff. Periodontal disease is a serious (and expensive) problem that can be prevented by controlling the plaque and tartar that forms on your teeth. Call Dr. Chavez’s office today to schedule your next cleaning or consultation at (801) 426-6255.