What is Tartar?

posted by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 4/2/2019 in General

You’ve undoubtedly heard of tartar, but what exactly is it? Understanding tartar and how it can impact the health of your teeth and gums will help you understand how to prevent it.

What is tartar?

Before there is tartar, there is plaque. Remember plaque? It is a colorless film containing millions of bacteria. Plaque appears naturally on your teeth, sticking to the surfaces along the gum line generally within four to 12 hours after brushing. If not removed regularly, plaque will work with minerals in your saliva to create crystals on your teeth, hardening into tartar.

Often yellow or brown in color, deposits of tartar are hard and crusty. These can affect your dental health in the form of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease, but can also develop into a cosmetic problem, frequently leading to stains and tooth discoloration.

Generally, your susceptibility to tartar will increase with age.

Preventing tartar buildup on teeth

To prevent the buildup of tartar, you’ll need to prevent the buildup of plaque. This can be accomplished by simply brushing and flossing your teeth regularly to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth. Using a mouthwash as part of your daily oral care routine can also help fight the buildup of plaque and prevent gingivitis.

Watching what you eat -- particularly the number of sugary snacks -- and committing to a diet of well-balanced meals can slow or reduce the formation of plaque.

But most importantly, make sure you are scheduling regular cleanings with your dental professional. Brushing and flossing every day is essential, but the thorough cleanings provided by your dentist ensure those hard-to-reach areas are being taken care of, as well.

About The Author

Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS

Dr. Beau Beecher is the founder and CEO, of Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry. Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry is known for being a patient-centered practice that puts comfort and convenience first. Over 50,000 patients in Iowa cities travel miles to experience the high level of ... read more

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