DENTAL TARTAR: CAUSES, PREVENTION, REMOVAL - Dr. Samuel

April 13 2021

DENTAL TARTAR: CAUSES, PREVENTION, REMOVAL - Dr. Samuel

Dental tartar, also called dental calculus, is a yellow-colored hard deposit that sets on teeth surfaces and sometimes beneath the gums. It is one of the main concerns in contemporary dentistry and the cause of multiple oral conditions.

What Are The Causes for Dental Tartar?

Even though you have perfect hygiene, your mouth is full of different microorganisms like bacteria and fungi.

Our mouth has more than 700 species of bacteria in our saliva, secretions, and dental plaque. Usually, these microorganisms interact with each other creating a microscopic community called oral microflora. And although some of these species are responsible for many buccal diseases, they require specific conditions to become dangerous.

However, when dental plaque appears and remains for long periods, these bacteria start to organize, taking minerals from the saliva, foods, and other oral fluids, turning the plaque into a hard stone tightly attached to the teeth surface.

Furthermore, dental tartar has multiple factors that contribute to its appearance. Thereby, it can occur due to other factors like an alkaline environment, some prescription drugs, lack of salivation, systemic conditions, dental crowding, and smoking.

How Does Dental Tartar Affect Your Oral Health?

Dental calculus has a fundamental role in periodontal disease (gum disease) and a significant part in decay, bad breath, and other conditions. Therefore, it has several adverse effects on your oral health, including the followings:

- It makes dental and oral hygiene difficult by hindering the gum's cleaning and the use of dental floss.

- It facilitates the accumulation of more dental plaque and bacteria, leading to more acid production.

- Its porous and rough surface irritates the gums, causing and gum disease and gum recession, sometimes even inducing bone loss (periodontitis).

- It can increase bacteria fermentation, weakening the teeth and causing

- In severe cases, it can create pockets in your gums that can lead to gum bleeding and tooth loosening. 

- In the worst cases, it can lead to dental extraction.

Furthermore, being a microorganisms and bacteria accumulation, dental tartar has been related to periodontal disease and cardiovascular conditions.

How Can I Prevent Tartar Formation?

Once dental tartar is formed and hardened, it's practically impossible to remove it with home measures. The sediments are firmly attached to the dental surface through chemical, biological, and mechanical forces, and, thereby, they need to be removed by a professional with the appropriate equipment. Thereby, the best preventive treatment is having healthy habits with the correct tools to prevent its formation. 

Here are some recommendations we suggest you take to prevent tartar formation:

- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, using a soft bristles toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste, twice a day. 

Brush to remove dental tartar

- Do not forget to use dental floss every day. You're not having complete oral hygiene if you are not flossing.

- Try to use an antiseptic mouthwash to keep oral bacteria at the line.

- Improve your diet by reducing sugar intake, candy, and sweet foods among the main meals.

- Reduce or eliminate smoking habits as they represent a crucial impediment in oral health. 

How Can I Remove Dental Tartar?

The only way to remove the calculus is by a professional clean-up procedure called Tarthrectomy, which literally means tartar elimination. In this procedure, your dentist will use a specialized motor to make the tartar vibrate until it detaches from the teeth surface without damaging the enamel or the gums. 

After the procedure, you might see your gums bleeding a bit. However, this is a result of the tartar irritation and not the clean-up itself. 

Finally, remember that dental tartar can reappear if you neglect your oral health and allow your dental plaque to harden again. Therefore, eliminate the tartar from your life by having excellent oral health at home.

 

--- By Dr. Samuel I A Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) from Central University of Venezuela. He is also the Member of the National College of Dental Surgeon of Venezuela. Boasts almost 10 years experience in general dentistry.

 

References:

- Aghanashini, S., Puvvalla, B., Mundinamane, D. B., Apoorva, S., Bhat, D., & Lalwani, M. (2016). A Comprehensive Review on Dental Calculus. Journal of Health Sciences & Research. https://doi.org/10.5005/jp-journals-10042-1034

- Akcalı, A., & Lang, N. P. (2018). Dental calculus: the calcified biofilm and its role in disease development. In Periodontology 2000. https://doi.org/10.1111/prd.12151

- Dewhirst, F. E. (2016). The Oral Microbiome: Critical for Understanding Oral Health and Disease. Journal of the California Dental Association.

- Lieverse, A. R. (1999). Diet and the Aetiology of Dental Calculus. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1212(199907/08)9:4<219::AID-OA475>3.0.CO;2-V

- Mandel, I. D. (1995). Calculus update: prevalence, pathogenicity and prevention. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939). https://doi.org/10.14219/jada.archive.1995.0235

- Velsko, I. M., Fellows Yates, J. A., Aron, F., Hagan, R. W., Frantz, L. A. F., Loe, L., Martinez, J. B. R., Chaves, E., Gosden, C., Larson, G., & Warinner, C. (2019). Microbial differences between dental plaque and historic dental calculus are related to oral biofilm maturation stage. Microbiome. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-019-0717-3

- White, D. J. (1997). Dental calculus: recent insights into occurrence, formation, prevention, removal and oral health effects of supragingival and subgingival deposits. European Journal of Oral Sciences, 105(5), 508–522. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0722.1997.tb00238.x

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