How To Remove Tartar From Teeth Without A Dentist
Keeping on top of our teeth might seem like a chore sometimes, but it’s so essential to good oral health. One thing our dentists often see here in Nottingham is plaque and tartar on teeth. In this post, we’ll talk about what they are, what causes them to form, how to treat them, and how to prevent them from forming in the future.
What is plaque and tartar?
Plaque is a sticky substance that can range in colour from clear to yellow, which can build up on the teeth. It’s made of a combination of saliva, bacteria and food particles.
Tartar is a hardened form of plaque, which can turn yellow or brown. It’s very strongly bonded to the tooth enamel.
What causes plaque?
The main cause is having a poor dental routine, but there are other, less obvious risk factors. These include wearing braces, having a dry mouth, being a smoker, having crowded teeth and general ageing.
There are also certain foods that are more likely to contribute to plaque formation and growth. These are mostly foods that contain sugar or starch, such as cakes, sweets, fizzy drinks and even milk. Our Nottingham dentists can give advice on how to limit sugar in your diet.
How do I treat plaque and tartar?
Brushing and flossing twice a day, for two minutes a time, is the main way to help prevent plaque (and subsequently, tartar). You can even use an anti-plaque toothpaste for extra protection, and can try mouthwash in between brushing times. It’s also a good idea to attend regular check-ups with your dentist (averaging every 6 months, depending on the condition of your oral health). Finally, our dentists recommend cutting down on, or quitting, smoking.
While plaque can be lifted through at-home cleaning, once it hardens into tartar, only a dental professional, such as our Nottingham dentists, will be able to remove it. In other words, it’s not possible to remove tartar by yourself.
What happens if I don’t clean plaque effectively?
Plaque and tartar can be damaging to your teeth, wearing down the protective enamel layer and causing cavities (holes). If bacteria enter into the holes and reach the tooth pulp (centre) or get into the tooth roots, you may even require root canal or extraction treatment.
There’s also a risk of developing gingivitis, which is where the gums become tender and inflamed. If untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which is where the gums and underlying jaw bone begin to recede, causing tooth loss and other problems. As well as plaque, smoking is a risk factor for these concerns.
Finally, plaque can cause bad breath. Again, smoking can play a role.