What Makes Tartar?

You’ve probably heard the term “tartar” before, and may have a general idea that it’s something on your teeth that needs to be removed, but what is it exactly? What can be done to treat it and prevent it before it builds up?

Plaque Leads to Tartar

Plaque is a sticky biofilm of bacteria that accumulates along the teeth and gums. When you brush and floss, you’re removing this layer of plaque. But if you don’t, that plaque will combine with the minerals in your saliva and harden into tartar, a yellow to brownish substance that tightly adheres to teeth and can only safely be removed by a dental professional. Plaque transforms into tartar, or calculus, fairly quickly. If you go just a day without brushing or flossing, you can start to see this buildup on your teeth and along your gumline.

Why Tartar Is a Problem

For one, tartar is a cosmetic issue, since most people don’t like yellow or brown stains on their teeth. The other problems, though, are even more serious. The accumulation of both plaque and tartar increases your risk of cavities, since plaque bacteria produces enamel-destroying acids when feeding upon your dietary sugars. They also produce toxins that irritate your gums and cause them to recede. Moreover, tartar is porous and provides additional spaces for bacterial growth. All that bacteria harms your teeth and gum health by causing inflammation, bleeding gums, cavities, and eventually gum infection, tooth loss, and bone loss.

How to Deal with Tartar

Daily brushing and flossing, in conjunction with routine dental visits, will clean away plaque and keep it from hardening into tartar. But when tartar has formed on your teeth, our expert team at Kherani Dental at Aspen is here to help get your oral health back on track. Trying to remove tartar yourself isn’t safe and can harm your gums. We have special tools that scrape the buildup away. Schedule your next professional cleaning to achieve a tartar-free smile!

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