In a visit to your dentist, you may have heard mention or the word tartar.
And of course you know that not your brushing teeth and eating sugary foods will lead to dental decay.
But what is the connection here? How is tartar connected to dental decay, cavities, even tooth loss?
To understand the dental decay process, we have to understand what tartar is, where it comes from, and the threat it poses to your teeth and oral health.
At Warner Lakes Dental, we’d like to share some information about tartar, how it can harm your dental health, and what we can do about it, together. The story starts with dental plaque.
What Is Dental Plaque?
Dental plaque is a soft, sticky film that deposits on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria, which produce acids that attack your tooth enamel and can damage your gums. If not treated, the damage can be permanent.
It contains bacteria that feed on the food and drinks you eat every day. If bacteria deposits from plaque on teeth aren’t removed through regular brushing and flossing, they can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and tartar buildup.
What Is Tartar & Why Is It A Problem
Tartar is a yellow or brown colored deposit on your teeth. Because tartar buildup on teeth is strongly bonded to the tooth enamel, it can only be removed by a dental professional.
While tartar is not immediately harmful or dangerous, it can cause a number of problems over time:
- Tartar allows plaque more surface area to stick to, which gives bacteria a nice place to grow.
- That bacteria can lead to cavities and gum irritation, leading to gum disease.
- Tartar absorbs stains easily. Coffee, tea, and cigarette smoke are the most noticeable.
- Tartar can make it difficult to brush and floss properly.
So, what can you do, and what can Warner Lakes Dental do, to eliminate a tartar problem?
If tartar has advanced most people can feel or see tartar on their own teeth, particularly if they look closely. Or, perhaps your dentist will discover your tartar during a standard check-up. The same is true for finding out about tartar on children’s teeth.
Dealing with tartar, then, requires dual strategies: removing tartar already on the teeth, and preventing future tartar and plaque buildup on teeth.
Removing existing tartar on teeth is best done by a dentist or hygienist. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
But preventing tartar from developing is within your control at home.
Here are some approaches:
- Brushing twice a day eliminates plaque that creates tartar. Be sure to brush those hard-to-reach places behind your teeth and on your rear molars. Make sure to brush for a full two minutes.
- Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- Try an electronic or powered toothbrush. These provide a bit more power, which make them good choice. Also, they usually have timers to help you brush as long as you should.
- Use a toothpaste with tartar control (with fluoride).
- Use a mouthwash. A good mouthwash will kill the bacteria in plaque, especially in places that brushes and floss find difficult to reach.
- Floss. This is the best way to prevent plaque buildup between the teeth.
- Watch your diet & snacks. The bacteria in your mouth love sugary and starchy foods. Cut down on sugar and brush after these kinds of snacks.
- Visit a dentist regularly. A thorough checkup can reveal tartar build-up and reveal clues as to how to brush better to prevent future plaque and tartar.
Dental Treatment Of Plaque
Your dental hygienist or dentist uses specialised instruments to gently remove tartar deposits without harming the teeth.
Here are some of the techniques:
Removal normally begins with an ultrasonic instrument that uses vibrations to knock larger pieces of tartar loose. It also sprays a mist of water while it works to wash away debris and keep the area at a proper temperature.
Once the larger pieces of tartar are gone, the dental worker will move to more delicate hand tools to remove smaller deposits and smoothen the tooth surfaces. These tools shaped to follow the curves of the teeth.
Once all surfaces are smooth, the dental worker may polish your teeth using a slow speed handpiece with a soft rubber cup full of gritty toothpaste-like material.
Your dentist may also apply fluoride.
But, of course, prevention is the most important thing!
The Warner Lakes Dental Experience
Warner Lakes Dental wants your visit to be the quickest and most convenient dental experience possible. From parking to treatment, we try to make the entire process as simple and painless as possible. From routine check-ups and cleans to root canals, extractions, and cosmetic treatments, Warner Lakes Dental is your partner in dental health.
Call (07) 3448 0162 or visit us at Warner Lakes Medical Precinct 1185B Old North Rd in Warner.