Tartar on Teeth: Causes and Treatment



Tartar on teeth is one of the most common oral affections in middle age and requires the intervention of a professional to completely neutralize it. Tartar is formed by the calcification of the bacterial plaque and is characterized by its yellowish color, or brown, in the most severe cases.

Bacterial plaque begins to form every time we eat food or drink, which is why it is so important to adopt good oral hygiene habits after each meal. When plaque is not completely removed after brushing, it accumulates on teeth and gums and, over time, ends up calcifying. We are going to learn more about this condition that, if not treated in time, can favor the appearance of other oral diseases.

Types of tartar on teeth

Depending on the place where tartar is formed, we can distinguish the following types:

  • Tartar accumulated above the gums (supragingival)
  • Tartar accumulated under the gums (subgingival)

The former is seen with the naked eye and directly affects the front and back of the teeth, however, the tartar that accumulates under the gums is not seen and can lead to important diseases, such as periodontitis.

What happens if the tartar is not removed in time?

Tartar can cause significant problems in the mouth if it is not removed in time. Here are some of them:

Dental aesthetics: the presence of tartar on teeth and gums causes changes in coloration and disfigures the person’s smile.

Gingivitis and periodontitis: The symptoms of gingivitis are inflammation and possible bleeding of the gums. Although it can disappear if hygiene habits are extreme, periodontitis can also occur.

Caries: bacterial plaque causes the destruction of enamel and the formation of cavities, one of the most widespread conditions that could end up damaging the dental pulp and even, in advanced cases, in the loss of the piece.

Other consequences of the appearance of tartar on the teeth can be bad breath (halitosis), damage to the structures that support the teeth or bone loss in the jaws.

Solutions to remove tartar on teeth

The truth is that although good daily dental hygiene is maintained, the formation of tartar is practically inevitable, since there are certain areas where the brush, or dental floss, cannot remove food debris and bacterial plaque ends up forming.

Once tartar has appeared on the teeth and gums, it cannot be removed with daily oral hygiene and the intervention of a professional is essential to carry out a professional cleaning or prophylaxis. This technique removes the calcified plaque and prevents tartar from accumulating below the gum line.

In prophylaxis, ultrasound is used to fracture the calculus and then pressurized water to permanently remove them. Afterwards, the professional uses dental floss to remove any remains that have remained between the teeth and, finally, the superficial stains of the teeth are eliminated to maximize the dental aesthetics of the patient.

In the event that the tartar is below the gums, a root scaling will be used and the periodontist will be in charge of doing it since specific instruments and qualifications are needed for this type of treatment.

How to avoid the formation of tartar?

There are some practices that help prevent the appearance of tartar on the teeth such as maintaining good daily oral hygiene that, without a doubt, must continue to be promoted. However, there are other recommendations that must also be taken into account so that the plaque does not calcify. These are:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel.
  • After brushing, use dental floss to remove food debris between the teeth.
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash so that the elimination of bacteria in each brushing is more effective.
  • Do not smoke or reduce consumption as much as possible. Also with alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Do not eat foods that stick to your teeth such as sliced ​​bread, French fries, etc.
  • Eat certain fruits biting with your teeth, such as apple, melon or strawberries. In this way, teeth and gums are strengthened. Also tomatoes, carrots, sesame seeds or parsley.

As we can see, the consequences of accumulating tartar on the teeth and gums can be dangerous for oral health, so we invite you to make an appointment with us to check the status of your teeth. We recommend doing a professional cleaning at least once a year to remove accumulated tartar and thus be able to show off healthy and beautiful teeth.


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