- by Dr. Ashok Kumar Selva
- 0 Shares
- Apr 02 2018
What is tartar or dental calculus?
Lack of a good, regular oral hygiene routine leads to plaque build-up. When plaque builds up on the teeth, over a period of time it hardens to form tartar or dental calculus.
Effects of tartar on your teeth
When the plaque hardens to form tartar, it becomes difficult to brush off and the acids released work their way into the teeth, breaking down the enamel. As the bacterial activities progress due to dental calculus, it leads to the formation of cavities and tooth decay.
Tartar affects your gums too
Plaque build-up and tartar formation above the gum line causes irritation and gum damage. This inflammation, over a period of time leads to gum disease called gingivitis and if left untreated progresses into serious periodontitis. This leads to the formation of bacteria infected pockets between the gum and teeth which are fought by chemicals released by the body’s immune system. But, these chemicals along with those released by the bacteria cause gum, bone and tissue damage.
Preventing dental calculus
- Regular, diligent brushing removes dental plaque and prevents its build-up leading to tartar
- Tartar control toothpastes with fluoride prevent plaque hardening and the fluoride repairs the tooth enamel
- Bacteria survive in the mouth thanks to sugar and starch present in foods. Eating healthy and drinking water regularly prevents acid release and minimises plaque build-up
- Flossing regularly helps remove plaque between the teeth, parts that brushing cannot reach and prevents plaque retention
- Smoking is one major contributor and study shows that smokers are more prone to dental calculus
Prevention is best as once tartar is formed, regular brushing etc. cannot get rid of it. Regular visits to dentist will help get rid of it by scaling and polishing.
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