If you’ve been following along the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing how to prevent and remove plaque, tartar and calculus buildup. Last week, we discussed the impact of tartar and calculus buildup on your gums. This week, we’ll discuss how you can remove tartar from your teeth at home and how to prevent it from ever forming so that calculus buildup is never an issue.
How do you remove tartar from teeth at home?
Removing tartar from your teeth at home starts by stopping plaque in its tracks! As we learned in Part 1, plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms throughout the day as you eat and drink. While plaque is relatively easy to remove while it’s still in this sticky state, it can quickly harden in a matter of hours, turning into tartar and calculus buildup that can only be removed by the professionals. As such, it’s incredibly important to brush and floss daily.
With that in mind, your Raleigh dentist recommends the following actions to remove plaque from your teeth so that it doesn’t have a chance to become tartar or calculus.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that you like using. It really doesn’t matter if you use a manual toothbrush or an electronic tooth brush. They are both effective at removing plaque as long as you use them consistently and correctly. However, if you find that you’re consistently having tartar or calculus buildup, your Raleigh dentist may recommend an electronic toothbrush as a first step in battling tartar.
- Make sure that you brush at a 45 degree angle so that you can get your toothbrush into the corners of your mouth, in between teeth and gums where plaque so often hides. Don’t forget to brush all the way up your gum line.
- As you’re brushing, use gentle, short strokes. You can also use circular motion as you brush. We prefer this to a “back and forth” motion.
- The type of toothpaste you use does matter. Make sure that you use fluoride toothpaste.
- Finally, make sure you floss at least once a day. You can also use a toothpick (or something similar) to remove pieces of food in between brushings.
What are some easy ways to prevent tartar from forming?
You may not be able to remove tartar at home, but there are some things you can do (in addition to implementing a consistent oral health routine which includes brushing and flossing) that can reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth. These include:
- Using tartar-control toothpaste. We’ve found that tartar-control toothpaste does a much better job of preventing calculus buildup than using regular fluoride toothpaste. Oftentimes, tartar-control toothpaste also has a whitening element as well.
- Alternatively, use a toothpaste with baking soda as an active ingredient. Baking soda is a little more abrasive, so it can often remove plaque slightly better than toothpastes without it. While we’re discussing active ingredients, we find that charcoal-based toothpastes are ineffective at controlling tartar or calculus buildup, so don’t bother.
- Drinking green tea may also reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth. If tea isn’t your thing, look for mouthwash that has tea tree oil in it.
- Make sure you eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are typically crunching which promotes healthy chewing behaviors, which are great for saliva production. As such, simply eating these types of food can help wash away some of the plaque-producing bacteria in your mouth.
- You can also chew sugar-free or xylitol gum. We find that sugar-free or xylitol gum can protect teeth in between brushings. Studies have also shown that taking small doses of xylitol daily can greatly prevent plaque or calculus buildup from forming.
Be sure to visit your dentist regularly to prevent tartar or calculus buildup from ever forming. If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call Dr. Katherine E. Garrett and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!