Calculus or tartar is a hardened form of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on teeth, and without a good oral hygiene routine consisting of brushing and flossing, you’re almost guaranteed to end up with a crusty layer of calculus on your teeth and gums.
Calculus has many consequences for oral health, including tooth decay, gum disease and infection. You should never allow it to build-up. The most effective way to remove calculus is by visiting your dentist for a scale and clean.
What Calculus Does To Your Oral Health
As tartar builds-up, it begins to cover the teeth and the gum line. The rough surface means more bacteria and plaque stick to the areas and increase the risk of gum disease and cavities. But, it also creates cosmetic issues.
The porous surface of calculus means your teeth will absorb more stains, so every time you drink red wine, coffee, tea and other pigmented beverages, the tartar will darken and you’ll move further and further away from your dream of a gleaming, movie star smile.
The Truth About Home-Removal Methods
Don’t trust any home-removal methods for tartar. There are a lot out there, ranging from natural remedies like sesame seeds, vinegar or strawberries to OTC dental tool kits. No matter what you’ve heard or come across, don’t use it.
Calculus is difficult to dislodge. It is why the most effective way to remove calculus is by visiting your dentist. Dentists and dental hygienists go through years of training to learn how to clear it away without damaging the teeth and gums. Your teeth are no different from any other part of your body. You wouldn’t try and treat a broken arm at home, so don’t ever try and treat tartar affected teeth. You’ll only leave your teeth in a worse state than when you started.
The Safe Method
So then, what is the most effective way to remove calculus?
Calculus can be safely removed by a dentist or dental hygienist using a method known as scaling and cleaning. This process makes use of scaling tools and ultrasonic devices to remove calculus from your teeth and gum line. The process is entirely painless, although if you feel uncomfortable or sensitive, it can be completed under local anaesthetic.
After your teeth have been cleaned, they will be polished. This removes any rough surfaces and makes it hard for plaque and calculus to reattach. A fluoride treatment will also assist in preventing any future build-ups and fights tooth decay.
The other advantage of this process is that it can polish stains away. That means you end up with cleaner, brighter teeth through an alternative method to a costlier whitening procedure.
How to Prevent Calculus Build-Up
Removal can’t take place at home, but you can do a lot at home to prevent it from building up in the first place. The best way to avoid calculus is to follow a good oral health routine. That means:
- Brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using the technique recommended by your dentist.
- Flossing every day is a non-negotiable. If you don’t floss, you allow plaque and therefore calculus to gather in between your teeth and up near your gum line. If you’re struggling with traditional floss, ask about a water-floss machine or other methods.
- Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods and low in processed, sugary and acidic foods. Sugar especially promotes decay formation.
- Ensure you stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Saliva is crucial in neutralising plaque, so a dry mouth will be much more susceptible to calculus deposits.
- Visiting your dentist at least twice a year. These visits allow for a regular scale and clean which means calculus build-ups will be less frequent and less devastating on your overall oral health.
You are in control of your dental health. The work you put in at home, your commitment to your overall health and visiting the dentist will pay off as you avoid serious dental issues like decay, gum disease and of course, tooth loss.
dhealth Dentistry is committed to preventative dentistry. We use gentle and safe techniques to keep your teeth and gums clean, prevent calculus build-ups and give you a healthy smile. Our dental hygienists are highly-trained, gentle and know how to leave you with gleaming teeth.