Tartar is hardened plaque on your teeth. If it is not taken care of at home and removed by your dentist, it will accelerate the decline in oral health and general health.
You can brush and floss to remove dental plaque from which calculus has formed. However, when calculus forms, it adheres very firmly to the tooth and cannot be removed with a toothbrush or home remedies.
If you want perfect teeth, preventing tartar is an important piece of the puzzle.
In this article, you will learn about calculus, its causes and risk factors, how to prevent it and its long-term effects if left untreated.
What is Calculus?
Also called tartar or calculus, calculus is a hardened calcified deposit derived from plaque that has not been cleared from your teeth.
Untreated plaque leads to stones that cannot be removed without a dentist. Calculus encourages more plaque formation and complicates plaque removal.
There are 2 types of calculus:
.Subgingival: A subgingival occurs above the gum line, in the hidden part of your tooth root. This cannot be seen. It usually occurs in areas where gum disease is present.
.Supragingival: Supragingival calculus forms on the visible part of the tooth surface, below the gum line. This makes it difficult to remove dental plaque from your teeth.
Large deposits of calculus are very rare, but not unheard of. The calculus deposits can reach 3 or 4 centimeters in diameter. It’s hard to imagine such a large amount of deposit sticking to your teeth day and night, but this can happen especially in molars.
Is tartar bad for your teeth?
Yes, tartar is bad for your teeth. Calculus encourages more plaque formation and makes it harder to get rid of plaque. All of these increase your risk of gum disease and related health problems.
How long does it take for tartar formation in teeth?
It takes about 1 to 14 days for tartar to form on the teeth after plaque has formed. Within 4 to 12 hours of your last brushing and flossing, plaque can form on your teeth.
Plaque and Tartar / Dalculus
Plaque is different from tartar. Plaque directly leads to tartar formation, and tartar supports plaque formation and retention.
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the surface of your teeth. It is a combination of food particles, bacteria, saliva and other components. It occurs on the teeth, between the teeth and below the gum line.
Calculus (tartar) is a stubborn deposit that adheres firmly to the tooth surface and cannot be removed outside of the dentist. Tartar is hardened plaque that traps stains and causes discoloration. Saliva flow and oral PH influence tartar formation.
Plaque, or dental biofilm, is the leading cause of tooth decay and gum disease. It can be cleaned with a toothbrush and three-bristle floss.
Tartar does not directly cause gum disease. However, because it promotes plaque formation and retention, calculus causes inflammation, increases your gum risk, and can accelerate the progression of gum disease (periodontal disease).
Plaque forms within 4 to 12 hours after brushing and flossing. Therefore, it is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Tartar occurs 1-14 days after plaque accumulation. Some people are prone to faster tartar formation. These individuals should consider visiting their dentist more than twice a year, at least until they and their dentist are sure that this oral health problem is under control.
Causes of Tartar and Tartar on the Teeth
The exact cause of dental calculus is not fully understood. But simply put, both types of tartar are made up of dental plaque.
However, researchers have identified risk factors for increased stone formation:
.Poor oral hygiene
.Black or Hispanic ethnicity
.Unhealthy diet (high in carbohydrates that feed bacteria)
.Limited access to dental care
.Other comorbid health conditions
A 2020 study concluded that calculus forms faster in people with severe gum disease, crooked teeth, high urea levels, high phosphorus levels, and low levels of Streptococcus Mutans bacteria.
How is calculus removed?
You cannot remove the stones (tartar) from your own teeth. A dentist or dental hygienist should remove calculus, which is the only way it’s safe and effective.
The procedure used to remove the analysis goes by several names:
.Scaling and rooting
.Traditional periodontal treatment
.Non-surgical periodontal treatment
Can calculus on teeth be removed?
Tartars on teeth can be cleaned by dentists, but not at home. The most effective technique seems to be scaling with an ultrasonic scaler. Other hand tools used to remove plaque and calculus include curettes, jackets, files, hoes and cuts.
Scaling and rooting is to remove all calculus from your teeth, including under your gums, so you can maintain your oral health without the risk of further bone loss and gum recession.
After calculus removal, patients are often educated about calculus and encouraged to take oral hygiene more seriously.
Can You Clean Teeth Stones Yourself?
You cannot clean the tartar yourself. You need to get professional help for tartar accumulation.
How to Prevent Tartar Formation?
Preventing tartar formation is as simple as good oral hygiene. But a few additions to your oral hygiene routine can help prevent tartar buildup.
Tartar-control toothpastes can help significantly reduce tartar formation compared to regular fluoride toothpastes.
Whitening strips can help prevent tartar. A study of 77 subjects shows that daily use of hydrogen peroxide whitening strips with pyrophosphate reduces calculus formation by up to 29% compared to regular brushing.
Baking soda in toothpaste can remove dental plaque better because baking soda is slightly abrasive. Removing more plaque means a lower risk of tartar formation. However, a more abrasive toothpaste means it is more likely to damage your tooth enamel.
Charcoal toothpaste has not been shown to be an effective or safe method of preventing tartar.
Prevention of tartar formation depends on good oral hygiene. If you remove dental plaque from your teeth, the formation of tartar is basically impossible.
Maintaining good oral hygiene and effectively removing plaque, thus preventing tartar formation:
.Brush your teeth with a sonic toothbrush. Soft bristles are better than hard bristles. A three-sided toothbrush is the best way to get an effective clean in half the time.
.The brush heads should be replaced every 2-3 months. Worn toothbrush bristles are ineffective at removing plaque, so the toothbrush head should be replaced when signs of wear appear, which are usually around 2-3 months.
.Floss your teeth daily. Flossing should be done before brushing your teeth.
.Fluoride toothpastes and hydroxyapatite toothpastes strengthen teeth and treat or prevent cavities. The Turkish Dental Association always recommends using fluoride toothpaste. However, growing evidence also supports the use of hydroxyapatite-forming toothpaste, which may be safer than fluoride.
.Antibacterial mouthwashes can help reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth. However, these mouthwashes can also kill beneficial bacteria and damage your oral microbiome, leading to more oral health problems in the future.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Your Teeth Stones Cleaned?
The following is a list of long-term health complications that can occur if you don’t get your calculus cleaned:
.Gum disease (periodontal disease)
.Tooth decay (cavities)
.Damage to tooth enamel
.Reduction in bone density
.Normal plaque is more difficult to clean.
.Stains are trapped (discoloration)
.Loss of confidence in smiling.
Dental calculus is also linked to death from a heart attack.
The main health complication of stone formation is gum disease. A 2013 literature review concludes that calculus serves as the (main cause) of periodontitis by providing an ideal porous environment for plaque retention and growth.
Periodontitis begins with gingivitis, which is the first of the 4 stages of gum disease.
Can You Remove Teeth Stone at Home?
No. You cannot clean calculus at home. If you try, you will likely damage your enamel and you will not be able to completely remove the calculus. The dentist should remove the calculus (tartar) from your teeth. Only in a dental practice will calculus removal be safe and effective.
Make sure you go to the dentist every six months for a twice-yearly checkup.
They can remove microbial plaque, calculus and look for signs of subgingival calculus you might not see otherwise.
Make sure you maintain healthy dental hygiene so you don’t have to deal with calculus in the first place. If you already have calculus/tartar, make an appointment with your dentist right away to get back to a healthy mouth.