BE TRUE TO YOUR TEETH AND THEY WON’T BE FALSE WITH YOU.
From the time you were a child, you’ve known that it’s important to brush and floss teeth regularly. But do you know why? What is Plaque? What is tartar? How does it get on your teeth? And what can happen if it does?
We all have heard of plaque and tartar, but not everyone knows what it is. Tartar and Plaque are not the same.
What is Plaque? Plaque is the yellowish layer that is created between our teeth by food attaching to the tooth surface which is not removed during brushing.
What is Tartar? Tartar is a hardened layer of plaque which attaches to the tooth enamel above and below the gum-line.
Why Is Tartar a Concern? How Does Tartar Affect Teeth and Gums?
Once tartar forms on teeth, it may be more difficult for you to brush and floss effectively. If this is the case, the acids released by the bacteria in your mouth are more likely to break down tooth enamel. That leads to cavities and tooth decay.
Tartar that develops above the gum line can be especially serious. That’s because the bacteria it harbors may irritate and damage gums. Over time, this inflammation can lead to progressive gum disease. The mildest form of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is the initial stages of gum inflammation caused by the presence of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Gingivitis can usually be stopped and reversed with careful brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings by dental professionals.
If tartar is not removed and gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into a more serious form of gum disease, known as periodontitis. This can lead ultimately to tooth loss and bone degradation.
Tips to Prevent Tartar Buildup
- Brush regularly using the proper technique. Simply brushing your teeth isn’t enough to remove plaque, unless you do it properly. You need to brush your teeth for 30 seconds at a time, making sure that you reach every surface of your teeth. Most dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day. Make sure you replace your toothbrush whenever you’ve been ill or the toothbrush looks worn.
- Floss, floss, floss. Since the bristles of your toothbrush cannot get in between your teeth, you need to floss daily if you want to prevent tartar. When you floss, it allows you to clear away the plaque that accumulates at the gum line as well as in between the teeth. Many people find that flossing is more helpful than brushing in preventing tartar build-up on the back of the second or third molars.
- Rinse, Rinse, and Rinse. Using a mouthwash on a daily basis helps to keep bacteria in the mouth under control, helping you to prevent tartar. As an added bonus, you might also help to strengthen your teeth if you use a fluoride rinse. Choose an antibacterial mouthwash or rinse that is designed to fight bacteria, plaque, and gingivitis.
- Get a Dental Cleaning. Even if you believe you are doing a good job, it’s important to get an annual or bi-annual cleaning if you want to prevent tartar. Each time you have your teeth professionally cleaned; existing tartar build-up is removed along with any plaque that you’ve missed. At Gainesville Dental Arts, our dental hygienist uses special tools to remove the tartar build-up in between your teeth and under the gum line, which can help to keep your teeth cleaner and prevent tartar from accumulating.