Hard calculus, or tartar, is a mineral deposit build up on the teeth. Even if you take care of your teeth and follow good hygiene habits you may develop hard calculus. This is because the bacteria in your mouth mixes with food byproducts and proteins to form a sticky film called plaque. This sticky film coats your teeth and gets under the gum line. It can also stick to dental work, fillings, and build up in hard to clean areas like your back teeth. It is this plaque that forms into hard calculus or tartar.
Plaque can damage the tooth enamel, contribute to inflamed or infected gums, and lead to cavities and tooth decay. If left untreated plaque will eventually turn into hard calculus and have to be removed by a dental hygienist during a dental cleaning.
Tips to Prevent Hard Calculus
The best way to prevent the development of hard calculus is to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth and in your mouth. Use these tips to keep your mouth and gums healthy.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. Use a soft bristle brush which is small enough to fit in your mouth and reach the back teeth and hard to reach places. One way to ensure you brush for at least two minutes is to sing Happy Birthday in your head while you brush. When you reach the end of the song, you’re done brushing.
- An electronic or powered toothbrush may help remove more plaque. If you choose an electronic toothbrush, be sure to choose one with the American Dental Association’s seal of approval since these models have been tested for quality and safety.
- Use toothpastes which contain fluoride and have tartar control. These toothpastes help remove and prevent the development of plaque on the teeth.
- Floss daily. Floss before you brush to remove the greatest amount of food debris and plaque from your teeth. Be sure to floss around each tooth and below the gum line to remove any hard to reach food debris, bacteria, and plaque.
- Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash each day to kill the bacteria which causes plaque.
- Keep up on your dental cleanings. During a cleaning the hygienist not only cleans and polished your teeth, but also removes any plaque or tartar on our teeth.
- Limit starchy and sugary foods since these foods promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth. If you do indulge be sure to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water after you eat or drink. Drinking lots of water helps cut down on the bacteria in our mouth and washes food debris away.
- Don’t smoke. Besides the obvious health risks associated with smoking, studies show people who smoke are more likely to develop tartar on their teeth.
Call or contact our office today if you have any questions about hard calculus and how to prevent its formation on your teeth. We’d be happy to teach you proper brushing and flossing techniques as well as formulate an oral health plan to help keep your smile bright and health. We look forward to hearing from you soon!