How to Clean Tartar Off Teeth

By Marlon Trotsky

Tartar, also known as calculus, is a hard yellowish mineral deposit that forms on your teeth—and it may lead to periodontal disease. Salts, food and other debris are often caught between your teeth, eventually forming plaque. As the debris continues to collect and harden it forms tartar. The formation of tartar can be easily prevented through proper brushing, flossing and healthy eating habits. Once it emerges, however, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional. There are two forms of tartar: supragingival, which occurs above the gumline, and subgingival that forms below the gumline.

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Tartar, also known as calculus, is a hard yellowish mineral deposit that forms on your teeth—and it may lead to periodontal disease. Salts, food and other debris are often caught between your teeth, eventually forming plaque. As the debris continues to collect and harden it forms tartar. The formation of tartar can be easily prevented through proper brushing, flossing and healthy eating habits. Once it emerges, however, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional. There are two forms of tartar: supragingival, which occurs above the gumline, and subgingival that forms below the gumline.

dental pick and mirror being used on teeth

Scrape away the tartar with a dental pick. Tartar stands out as a yellow-brownish discoloration on your teeth. You should use a lighted mirror to ensure that you hit all the spots. Be sure to spit and rinse throughout.

dentist about to clean patient's teeth

Schedule a cleaning or scaling every six months. Your dentist will clear away the tartar by using a number of instruments to remove calculus deposits off each tooth, particularly below the gumline. Your dentist will also polish down the tooth's surface—to help prevent the onset of gum disease.

woman brushing teeth

Brush two times a day using a tartar-control toothpaste. While these toothpastes generally do help prevent tartar from forming below the gumline, they are not particularly effective at removing calculus. Be sure to brush the hard-to-reach spots: below the gumline, behind your teeth and in the gaps between them. You should also floss regularly, and gargle using antiseptic oral cleanser or hydrogen peroxide. Try to avoid sugar and carbonated beverages. Most dentists also suggest that you avoid smoking and drinking hard alcohol.

References

About the Author

Marlon Trotsky was born in St. Paul, Minn. and graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, while minoring in sociology. His work has appeared in various print and online publications, including: "The Trentonian," "San Jose Mercury News" and "Oakland Tribune."

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