The buildup of tartar on your teeth can eat away at your tooth enamel and cause serious oral health complications like tooth decay and gum disease. Given that oral health is closely linked to your general health, it is even more important to prevent tartar formation and remove it from your teeth. Keep reading for some tips on how to remove tartar from teeth.
What is tartar?
When bacteria in the mouth mix with food particles, they form a sticky substance called plaque which gets deposited on the surfaces of your teeth. If left untreated, plaque can start to harden and become discolored, forming tartar. Therefore, tartar, which is also called dental calculus, is essentially plaque that has become calcified. Tartar not only looks bad but can also cause long-term damage to your teeth and gums.
What can I do to remove tartar from teeth?
You should do the following to prevent tartar formation on your teeth:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Use an electric toothbrush as these are linked to a lower incidence of plaque and tartar.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes (most people brush for an average of 45 seconds).
- Use dental floss or interdental brushes.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse to control bacteria in places that are hard to reach with brushing and flossing.
Is it okay to remove tartar at home?
You should avoid trying to remove tartar at home. While it may be tempting to do so, it’s worth remembering that once plaque hardens into tartar, a toothbrush will not remove it. Over-the-counter tartar removal kits or tartar scrapers are also best avoided as these products can cause injuries, infections, and permanent damage to your teeth and gums if they are not used properly. Also, if you try to remove tartar at home, you may miss some of it, putting you at risk of serious complications. The safest and most efficient way to remove tartar from teeth is to have a dental professional do it.
Can you naturally remove tartar from teeth?
You can naturally remove tartar from teeth with the following home remedies:
- White vinegar (acetic acid) has antibacterial properties and can work as a home-made mouthwash. Mix a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar and half a teaspoon of salt in 250 mL of water and rinse your mouth with it 1-2 times a day.
- Baking soda is a gentle abrasive. Brushing your teeth with baking soda can neutralize enamel-eroding acids and make your teeth look whiter by removing stains. Toothpastes containing baking soda are available on the market.
- A mixture of aloe vera gel, glycerin, baking soda, and lemon essential oil in water can work as an effective home remedy to remove tartar from teeth.
Again, it is important that you see a dental hygienist to properly and safely remove tartar from teeth. However, these home remedies may help to control tartar between your dental hygienist appointments.
How do you remove hardened tartar?
Once hardened tartar has formed on your teeth, only a dental professional can remove it. Go to the dentist every 6 months so they can remove any plaque or tartar that may have formed since your last appointment. Dental hygienists use a gritty toothpaste and a high-powered electric toothbrush to give your teeth a deep clean.
Does removing tartar from teeth hurt?
For most people, the removal of tartar from teeth is not painful. However, if you have developed complications like gingivitis or periodontitis, then tartar removal may be a little uncomfortable. Be sure to tell your dentist if you have a low pain tolerance so that they can make modifications to keep you comfortable.
What happens if tartar is not removed?
Plaque and tartar on your teeth can cause many complications, including yellowing of the teeth, bad breath, cavities, tooth decay, gum disease including gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (severe gum infection), tooth abscess, and tooth loss.
How do I know if I have tartar?
Tartar has a pale-yellow color and feels like a crust or rough substance on the surface of your teeth that does not go away with brushing. Foods and drinks can stain tartar and give it a brown or black color.
Remember, tartar can build-up can start to damage teeth in just a few months, so the sooner it is removed, the better. If you are looking for a dental hygienist nearby, Express Dentist can connect you to one in your area.
About the author
Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.
As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.