Controlling Tartar Buildup
One of the things we often see at Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert is tartar buildup on and between teeth. Tartar, also known as calculus (the dental version, not the math version!), has the potential to cause major damage to your teeth and gums.
Even if you have developed excellent oral hygiene habits, bacteria is still present in your mouth. The bacteria, combined with food particles, creates a coating of plaque on your teeth. When the plaque is not thoroughly removed regularly, it hardens into tartar which can cause receding gums and gum disease.
Tartar must be removed by a dental hygienist using specialized tools. This is one reason why we advocate twice-yearly cleanings and checkups. The best way to deal with tartar, however, is to prevent its buildup. Here are several ways you can win the battle at home:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. Anything shorter is not going to do a complete job. It is important to use a soft bristle brush so that you reach all areas of the tooth. It may be tempting to avoid hard-to-reach areas, but due diligence pays a great reward of plaque removal.
- Powered toothbrushes have been shown to be better at removing plaque than traditional brushes. The extra rotational action reaches above and along the gum line where plaque is hiding.
- Choose a toothpaste that controls tartar. There are several brands available that contain xylitol, which is known for its ability to strengthen the enamel on your teeth.
- Either before or after brushing, floss! Flossing is the best way to remove plaque between your teeth and at the gum line, places a toothbrush is likely to miss.
- Rinse thoroughly with an anti-bacterial mouthwash. You have just loosened plaque by brushing, so you want to make sure to rinse it out completely. You also want to kill as much of the remaining bacteria as you can.
- Eating a healthy diet will go a long way toward preventing tartar buildup. Avoid sugary treats if you can! This includes snacks, soft drinks and some juices. The sugar in these products feed the bacteria and create an acidic environment as a by-product. If you do indulge, remember to drink plenty of water to rinse the sugar residue away.
Tartar buildup on and between teeth can be minimized by following these six tips. If it has been awhile since your last checkup and cleaning, give us a call at Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert and we will schedule an appointment for you. We will remove the tartar that has formed and give your teeth a thorough scrubbing. You will look and feel great, and your smile will shine brightly!