Last week, we started a discussion on the differences between plaque, tartar and calculus buildup. Today we’ll pick up that conversation and discuss the impact of tartar or calculus buildup on your gums, how to remove it, and how to prevent it from returning.
How does tartar or calculus buildup impact your health?
We’ve mentioned this before, but the irritation and inflammation caused by tartar can lead to gum disease. While the early stages of gum disease, also known as gingivitis can be reversed, no one would sign up for a case of gingivitis if they knew how to avoid it. You might have a case of gingivitis if you experience the following symptoms: red or swollen gums, tender gums, or gums that bleed when you floss or brush.
Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. Unfortunately, periodontitis cannot be reversed. In addition to the symptoms listed above, you may have developed periodontitis if you’re experiencing the following: pain while chewing, gums separating from your teeth, pus collecting between your teeth, or loose adult teeth.
If you’ve gotten to this point, your oral health is obviously at risk, but what you may not realize is that the bacteria that causes periodontitis can also gain entry to your bloodstream, which can increase your risk for heart and lung disease. Fortunately, these effects can be completely avoided by simply brushing, flossing and rinsing your teeth on a daily basis.
How often should tartar be removed?
Your Raleigh dentist recommends having a professional dental cleaning and checkup every six months. Your hygienist will make sure that any tartar or calculus build-up is removed during your cleaning. However, she may want you to come in more often if any of the following conditions apply:
- You currently have gum disease.
- You’re a heavy smoker (making you more susceptible to gum disease).
- You have diabetes (also making you more at-risk to gum disease).
- You have “Dry Mouth.” Whether the condition is a result of aging or certain medications, having a dry mouth can prevent you from producing enough saliva to wash away food particles, and can aid the formation of plaque and tartar.
- You lack the physical dexterity to effectively brush and floss your teeth.
- You have other conditions that might prevent you from being able to complete a proper dental routine.
Why is it important to remove tartar and calculus buildup?
In our previous article, we mentioned that the presence of tartar and calculus can lead to gum disease. As such, removing any calculus build-up is absolutely necessary to prevent gum disease as well as other several serious health problems.
If you’re starting to experience swelling and bleeding along your gum lines, you may have some calculus buildup. These symptoms are a sign of gingivitis, which is an early (and reversible) stage of periodontal disease. We know that periodontal disease is linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease and strokes, as bacteria from plaque and tartar often finds it’s way into your bloodstream, which can result in such conditions like endocarditis.
How is Calculus Build-up Removed?
Once plaque has hardened into tartar or calculus, it must be removed via a process known as debridement. Your dental hygienist will use a hand-held instrument or an ultrasonic device to remove the build-up. Then, after the procedure, your Raleigh dentist will schedule you for a follow-up appointment to determine if further treatment is required. Future treatment can include scaling, root planning or gum surgery.
Fortunately, you can prevent this type of procedure by building a strong oral care routine. That routine starts with brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and using toothpaste with fluoride to prevent tartar buildup, remove stains and prevent calculus from ever forming. That routine should also include regular visits to your Raleigh Dentist. Speaking of which, if you think you may have a problem with tartar or calculus build-up, call Dr. Katherine E. Garrett and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Also stay tuned as we continue to discuss how you can best prevent tartar or calculus from ever forming.