What is tartar? Over time, our teeth get a sticky film of bacteria on them called plaque. Tartar is plaque that is hardened with minerals from saliva. With regular and effective brushing, most tartar buildup can be avoided since the plaque is removed.
Where do you usually find it in the mouth?
It is usually near the junction of the tooth and the gums. We see most of it on the tongue side of the lower front teeth and on the cheek sides of back molars. Here’s a picture of varying degrees of tartar buildup.
Why is tartar bad?
When tartar sits next to the gums for long periods of time, the bacteria can irritate the gums leading to gingivitis (gum disease which is reversible) and even periodontitis (more extensive gum and bone disease which is irreversible).
Can I remove the tartar at home?
Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional. Here, at Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, our hygienist will gently remove the buildup with specialized instruments.
How can I prevent tartar from forming?
The best defense is brushing and flossing daily. Regular dental cleanings and examinations can help prevent this type of harmful buildup. For those that are more prone to it, there are tartar control toothpastes available over the counter.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions on tartar!
Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry