Many people use the word calculus or tartar and plaque as though they mean the same thing. While these names refer to similar things, they are different but all can be due to several dental health problems, like gum infections and tooth decay. It is important to learn what these substances are and discover the simple steps that we, at Dental One Care, recommend you use to get rid of plaque and tartar.
Plaque and Tartar: How They Differ
Plaque refers to a biofilm of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Or, to put it more bluntly, plaque is a bunch of bacteria grouped together on the surface of your teeth.
While that description may gross you out, plaque formation is a natural process that happens in everyone’s mouth. In fact, Dr. Fadi Farhart explains that as soon as you finish brushing your teeth, the process through which plaque forms starts taking place.
The saliva that forms in your mouth has glycoproteins that protect your teeth. However, those same glycoproteins also provide a surface on which oral bacteria can stick to creating a biofilm of bacteria starting to form on your teeth.
The oxygen in your mouth then allows the population of bacteria to grow rapidly, and plaque is the result.
If you look at your teeth in the mirror, the yellow, black or orange tint you may see on some parts of your teeth is plaque.
Once you have plaque, the stage is set for tartar or calculus to form as well, unless you take steps to halt that process.
Tartar is plaque that stays long enough on your teeth until it hardens. A combination of saliva and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) causes the hardening of the bacterial biofilm (plaque) due to the minerals contained in these fluids (saliva and GCF).
Because saliva is crucial to the formation of tartar, tartar tends to form in the areas of your mouth where plenty of salivae is present, like around your molars and incisors. Calculus can also form on the gum line of all your teeth since saliva collects and sits there for a while.
Since tartar is plaque that has hardened, there is no difference between the appearance of plaque and tartar.
Why It Is Important to Remove Plaque and Tartar
From a cosmetic point of view, tartar and plaque are gross, and that alone is enough to emphasize why it is important to remove these buildups from your teeth.
However, more importantly, plaque and tartar increase your risk for cavities. Sterling Heights Dentist, Dr. Fadi Farhart, explains that the longer plaque and tartar stay on your teeth, the greater the chance that oral bacteria will damage your teeth and cause cavities.
Our team at Dental One Care also caution that as plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, you could suffer worse problems, like tooth infections, and you could ultimately lose the affected teeth.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Plaque and Calculus from Teeth
Brushing and flossing help remove plaque and calculus on an ongoing basis, but despite your best efforts at these oral hygiene routines, plaque and tartar will still form on your teeth. Here are some home remedies that you can use to complement brushing and flossing as plaque-fighting measures:
- Get anti-tartar toothpaste. Check for toothpaste that is specifically formulated to help users fight the accumulation of plaque and tartar on their teeth. Ask Dr. Fadi Farhart for advice on the appropriate anti-tartar toothpaste.
- Tap the powers of baking soda. You can also remove plaque and tartar at home by brushing your teeth using a mixture of baking soda, a bit of salt and water. Dr. Kristina Neda at Thorough Dent Smiles in Georgetown, Kentucky, explains that this mixture helps in two key ways. First, the baking soda scrubs the plaque and tartar off your teeth. Secondly, baking soda is anti-microbial, so it will kill the bacteria responsible for the formation of plaque and tartar.
- Use orange peels. Get an orange peel and gently rub its inner surface against your teeth. This will kill the bacteria causing plaque and calculus to buildup on your teeth.
- Chew raw vegetables. A dentist in Parker, CO, Dr. Christopher Green, recommends chewing raw vegetables as a way of removing plaque from their teeth. The fibers in the vegetables clean the teeth and remove accumulations of plaque.
- Use mouthwash. It is advised to rinse your mouth with mouthwash on a daily basis. Dr. Farhart says doing this kills the bacteria in your mouth and reduces the rate at which plaque forms. Additionally, using mouthwash also helps you clean the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.
Get Your Teeth Cleaned Professionally
The DIY measures above can help rid your teeth of tartar and plaque, but they can only go so far. The best way to get rid of all the plaque and calculus is by visiting Dental One Care so a member of our team can provide teeth cleaning services using the best tools for the job, like special brushes and scrapers. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned once every six months will keep you safe from the problems that could result from plaque and calculus.