What is tartar, and how do I remove it?

What is tartar, and how do I remove it?

October 18, 2020

We know that brushing removes tartar. We know that flossing removes tartar. We know that tartar sauce is delicious on fish and chips…but what is tartar?

What exactly is tartar?

No, it’s not the sauce we dip our fish and chips in. But good luck getting that out of your brain next time you’re eating fish. Tartar forms on our teeth when we don’t remove the plaque from them. Basically, if you leave plaque on your teeth for too long, it hardens and becomes very difficult to remove. Because of tartar’s porous attribute, it easily absorbs stains when drinking beverages like tea, coffee, or soda. If left untreated, tartar can lead to receding gums and even gum disease.

Can I remove tartar by myself?

Removing tartar requires special tools, and must be done at a dentist’s office. Though the internet is full of bad ideas for at-home health care, you’re better off coming to visit one of our dental hygienists to remove the tartar buildup.


Can I prevent tartar buildup?

Since tartar is hardened plaque, adopting a good oral hygiene routine at home can prevent the buildup of tartar in the first place. Brushing your teeth twice a day with soft-bristled toothbrushes and floss at least once a day to hit areas your brush can’t reach. If regular floss gives you any trouble (a very common complaint), try switching to Oral B’s Glide floss.

Visiting your dentist twice a year will help ensure that any plaque you missed at home is removed by the hygienist before it gets the opportunity to become tartar.

Quick tips for tartar prevention:

  • The obvious one: brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Don’t skimp on the 2 minute rule, because 30 seconds a day won’t be enough to remove the necessary plaque.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Some electronic toothbrushes have been shown to remove plaque better than regular toothbrushes. If you’re curious about which electronic toothbrushes we recommend, call our office or ask us on your next visit!
  • Seriously, floss those teeth! You could be the LeBron James of brushing your teeth, and it still won’t be good enough.

There you have it! Now excuse me while I go make some fish and chips. To schedule your next visit, call our office at 402-488-2383 or fill out our contact form.

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