If you notice a sticky, yellowish substance stuck to your teeth that causes them to discolour, there is a good chance that substance is tartar.
Tartar often appears on or slightly above the gum line, and continues to build up if not properly taken care of.
It can eventually build up to the point that it covers the spaces between the teeth.
Tartar is particularly noticeable in coffee and tea drinkers, and smokers as well.
Tartar, once in place, becomes a catalyst for additional plaque buildup, creating a loop in which dental health continues to degrade. This is why the folks at The Glenroy Dental Group want you to know how tartar develops, and what you can do to stop it before it does.
What Is Tartar?
Simply put, tartar is plaque that has been allowed to stay around for too long. Bacteria in your mouth mix with proteins and food byproducts to form an icky film called dental plaque. This sticky goo covers your teeth, slides beneath your gum line, and attaches to fillings and other dental work.
Plaque is loaded with bacteria that can attack tooth enamel and cause cavities. But if you remove plaque regularly, you not only prevent permanent tooth decay and gum disease, you automatically disrupt tartar formation.
Larger problems pop up if plaque remains on your teeth. If plaque remains on your teeth, it can harden in just over a day! The plaque then becomes tartar. Once it becomes tartar it is far more difficult to remove than plaque as it has, more or less, mineralised onto teeth.
Tartar, also known as calculus, collects above and below the gum line. It is porous and rough and can lead to receding gums and gum disease. It can only effectively be removed with dental tools at the dentist’s office.
Once tartar forms, it impedes brushing and flossing. As brushing becomes less effective, acids from bacteria in your mouth can break tooth enamel down more quickly. Enamel loss allows cavities and tooth decay.
If tartar develops on both sides of the gum line, results can be particularly dire as the bacteria in tartar can cause long-term damage to the gums, and even lead to gum disease.
If the tartar is not removed at this point, a more advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, can develop. Periodontitis can cause damage to bone and tissues that hold the teeth in place, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Worse, there seems to be a direct link between gum disease and heart disease.
Five Key Steps To Stopping Tartar!
Brush at least twice a day
The Australian Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day to keep tartar buildup to a minimum, but brushing alone will not do the job – using proper technique is key to protecting your teeth from plaque and tartar.
Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Be certain to reach all areas of your mouth, cleaning your teeth, tongue, gums, and inside of your cheeks. Brush for two minutes, using a timer if needed.
Flossing is the best way to remove trapped food and bacteria from between your teeth. If flossing is difficult for you, ask us for recommendations about alternatives such as interdental brushes, floss aides, and water-flossing devices.
Another good way to cut down on harmful bacteria in your mouth is to use antibacterial mouthwash after brushing. This provides extra protection against tartar buildup.
Avoid damaging foods
Avoiding some foods is also important to maintaining your oral health. Anything that can stick to teeth is dangerous as removal can be difficult and food stuck to teeth encourages bacterial growth. This includes sugary or starchy foods like granola, raisins, and sticky candy.
Visit The Glenroy Dental Group Regularly
No matter how well you brush and floss at home, visiting us dentist regularly is also an essential part of good oral care. If tartar does take hold on your teeth, only a dentist can safely remove it. We provide a superior cleaning compared to home results, and we also catch any potential problems before they can become too serious.
The Glenroy Dental Group and You
At The Glenroy Dental Group, your health and happiness, and that of your loved ones, are our primary goals. We use the most modern technology available and take advantage of the latest dental techniques to ensure that your dental health and appearance are at the highest level. We want you to receive the best possible dental care with no pain or anxiety!
Our offices are conveniently located in the Pascoe Vale Road shopping strip, Glenroy, with plenty of parking space, we are located within easy walking distance of the Glenroy train station.
*New patients only
Call (03) 9306 6511 or visit us at 2/830 Pascoe Vale Road in Glenroy.