Tartar, sometimes called dental calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Tartar can also form at and underneath the gum line and can irritate gum tissues. Tartar gives plaque more surface area on which to grow and a much stickier surface to adhere, which can lead to serious conditions, such as cavities and gum disease.
Not only can tartar threaten the health of your teeth and gums, it is also a cosmetic problem. Because tartar is more porous, it absorbs stains easily. Therefore, if you are a coffee or tea drinker, or if you smoke, it is especially important to prevent tartar buildup.
How do I know if I have tartar buildup?
Unlike plaque, which is a colorless film of bacteria, tartar is a mineral buildup that is easy to see if above the gum line. The most common sign of tartar is a yellow or brown color to teeth or gums. The only way for sure to detect tartar — and to remove it — is to see your family dentist, like Dr. Natalie Nechvatal.
How can I prevent tartar buildup?
Proper brushing, especially with a tartar control toothpaste, and flossing are necessary to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
Once tartar has formed, only your dentist or hygienist can remove it. The process for removing tartar is called scaling. During a scaling, Dr. Natalie Nechvatal uses special instruments to remove tartar from your teeth above and below the gum line.
In the Toledo area and need to schedule your dental checkup? Contact Light Touch Dental Care and schedule your next cleaning.