What Is Tartar And Why Does It Matter?

What Is Tartar And Why Does It Matter?

Many patients might be aware of the word, but do you know what it is?

There are some dental terms that patients hear us use, that they likely already understand reasonably well.

Tartar is one of those words that dentists use quite frequently, and many patients know is not a good thing, but may have little knowledge of what it really is.

In today’s blog from your Bedford dentist, we look in more detail at tartar and why it needs to be removed from your teeth and gum line.

What is tartar?

Tartar is actually quite a common dental problem, one which most people will have to some degree at various times. Poor oral health habits and lack of correct cleaning will make the situation worse though.

Sometimes also called calculus, tartar is a buildup of minerals and bacterial deposits which usually forms either on the teeth or just below the gum line. Its rough surface attracts plaque, a collection of bacteria which is damaging to both teeth and gums. The roughness also attracts staining and you may find that your teeth appear darker if you have tartar.

Why is it a problem?

As mentioned earlier, the rough surface of tartar helps harmful bacteria to collect on its surface. These can go on to cause significant oral health problems, and in particular, gum disease. Although early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, can usually be reversed through relatively non invasive means; if it is allowed to develop, periodontitis is a distinct possibility. This can also damage the bone holding your teeth in place and tooth loss is not out of the question.

How to get rid of tartar

Unfortunately, no amount of home brushing will remove the hardened tartar from the teeth and gum line. It is therefore strongly advised that you see the dental hygienist at our Bedford practice on a regular basis; usually every six months, although those at a higher risk may be recommended to visit more often. As part of your hygienist appointment, you will receive a ‘scale and polish’. This is a non invasive and non painful cleaning that removes hardened tartar from the teeth and gum line, helping to keep them healthy. Where staining has accumulated on the tartar, you may also find that this professional clean helps to give your teeth a brighter appearance too.

Although home brushing may not be able to remove tartar, it does help to prevent it from accumulating and you should take care to do this effectively both in the morning and before you go to bed. Tartar also accumulates between the teeth, so dental floss or other interdental cleaning method should also be used on a daily basis.

However well you take care of your teeth, we do recommend a scale and polish every six months or so. This is a great way to really stay on top of maintaining a healthy mouth and you can arrange an appointment by calling The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.