Staying on top of that pesky tartar buildup.
Let’s face it, we all get tooth plaque. Plaque is that soft, clear (sometimes yellow) filmy bacteria that builds up on our teeth and gets removed when we brush. However, when we let that plaque sit on our teeth for too long, it can turn into tartar. It can be challenging to remove the tartar buildup without the help of a dentist.
However, if you are like many adults, you don’t want to wait for a trip to the dentist to get rid of plaque and tartar buildup. Most of us genuinely aspire to maintain tip-top oral health and want to know how to remove tartar at home or how to remove tartar from our teeth without a dentist. So how do we do that and keep our smile healthy, white, and bright?
What is tartar and how does it affect teeth?
Removing plaque regularly by brushing and flossing your teeth is the best way to control tartar. But what exactly is tartar? Simply defined, tartar, also referred to as calculus by some dental health professionals, is just plaque that has hardened on your teeth. It is mostly made up of mineralized dead bacteria and proteins from saliva. Tartar can form at or underneath your gum line and can make any pre-existing gum issues that you have that much worse. And, not only can tartar threaten the health of your teeth and gums, but it isn’t all that attractive either—since tartar is a bit porous, it can absorb stains, taking your bright white smile to a dull yellow color.
Once tartar has built up on your teeth, it can make it more difficult to brush and floss. And, when we don’t brush our teeth twice a day and floss once a day, we become more susceptible to cavities. Further, the bacteria in tartar can irritate and damage your gums, leading to gum disease down the road. Thankfully, tartar buildup can be stopped and reversed through good oral hygiene habits and routine trips to the dentist twice per year.
Homemade Remedies for Tartar
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, there are some homemade remedies to help control tartar.
- Baking soda. Try using baking soda instead of toothpaste the next time you brush your teeth. Though you will still need to use your regular toothpaste as baking soda doesn’t contain fluoride necessary for healthy teeth and gums, brushing for two minutes with baking soda once per day can help kill the bacteria forming in your mouth around your teeth and gums. And the great thing is that baking soda helps whiten your teeth and freshen your breath too. Just remember to always brush gently as baking soda can be abrasive on your tooth enamel.
- Aloe vera. We all know that aloe vera can help soothe a sunburn, but did you know that it can help with tartar too? Apply just a tiny amount of aloe vera gel along your teeth to help loosen up tartar. You can also make a paste with one teaspoon of aloe vera gel, five tablespoons of baking soda, four teaspoons of glycerin, a drop or two of lemon essential oil, and one cup of water. Use this scrubbing paste on your teeth once per day until the tartar buildup has subsided. However, we recommend that you test a small portion on your teeth before commencing a complete scrub to ensure you don’t experience irritation or an adverse reaction to the ingredients.
- Spice it up. If you like spicy foods and you have tartar buildup, now is a great time to munch on some spicy peppers or whip up a cayenne-infused smoothie. Spicy foods help to increase saliva production and clean your gums and teeth. For example, chili powder is a spicy ingredient known to protect your bones because of its high concentration of vitamin A.
When to Get Professional Tartar Removal
Despite your best efforts, sometimes you may need to receive professional tartar removal from your family dentist. Most dentists, including the dentists at Allred Family Dentistry, suggest you have a dental checkup every six months. However, if you suffer from gum disease, if you smoke, or are diabetic, you will likely benefit from more frequent cleanings.
We also recommend that if you suffer from dry mouth, have trouble independently brushing your teeth thoroughly, or have a condition that prevents you from keeping to a dental hygiene routine, you see your family dentist more frequently to prevent tartar buildup.
What to expect during the procedure to remove tartar buildup.
Tartar is removed during your six-monthly dental checkups. Drs. Allred and Allred start by examining the inside of your mouth. Then, a small mirror is used to check the teeth and gums that aren’t easily visible from the outside of your mouth. If tartar buildup is spotted, a scaling instrument is used to scrape it off your teeth. This painless procedure, combined with a deep cleaning of your teeth, is the best way to remove tartar buildup that you can’t remove at home.
How to prevent tartar buildup.
A common question that dental patients ask is how to prevent tartar buildup in the first place. Children and adults who take the following steps will benefit from less tartar buildup and a healthier mouth:
- Schedule dental checkups every six months.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once per day, and rinse your mouth with a fluoridated anti-plaque mouthwash.
- Use a high-quality soft-bristled toothbrush and replace the brush or head every three months.
- Refrain from using tobacco products.
- Limit the consumption of sugary foods.
Schedule an appointment with Allred Family Dentistry to help tackle your tartar buildup.
If you have tartar buildup and haven’t seen your family dentist in Griffin or Hampton, Georgia, in over six months, now is the time to request an appointment. Our dentists will conduct an oral examination and dental cleaning and discuss strategies to help you mitigate future tartar buildup and keep you on the path to tip-top oral health.