Remove Tartar at Home
If you’re concerned about tartar buildup changing the colour of your teeth, there are things you can do at home to help remove and prevent it. However, cleaning off tartar buildup is best left at the hands of a skilled dentist. Keep reading to understand more about what tartar is, why it’s important to remove it and ways to treat and prevent it properly.
What is Tartar?
Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is basically built up and hardened plaque that has trapped stains on the outside of your teeth and around your gum line. Plaque is a thin, invisible layer that develops on our teeth naturally after we drink or eat foods that react with the bacteria in our mouth. If you’ve ever skipped brushing your teeth, that sticky film or a fuzzy coating on your teeth is actually plaque.
Tartar will discolour your teeth and create hard and rough areas that can also inflame your gums. A preventative oral care routine that includes brushing your teeth and flossing twice daily will remove plaque buildup and will help you avoid tartar. People prone to tartar buildup are those who don’t have good dental hygiene, visit the dentist less than twice per year, and have crooked or missing teeth. Age, stress, dry mouth and other health problems can also cause tartar formation.
What Does Tartar Look Like?
Tartar appears as brown, tan or yellow stains in between and on the white part of your teeth. Around your gumline, tartar can look like brown or even black marks. Red, irritated, bleeding or itchy gums, bad breath, tooth sensitivity and cavities are also signs of a tartar problem. Starting out as clear plaque build-up, tartar will continue to spread and get bigger if not removed.
What Happens if Tartar is Not Removed?
Tartar not only affects how your teeth look but can also lead to larger oral health issues if left untreated. It can make it harder to brush and floss properly. Not removing tartar from your teeth early can cause tooth decay as the bacteria eats away at your tooth enamel. It can lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis or more seriously periodontal disease which is when your gums recede or shrink away from your teeth. If tartar gets deeper into your gums, it can cause significant negative effects such as bone and tooth loss.
Can You Remove Tartar at Home?
Once plaque has mineralised into tartar, it cannot be removed by brushing your teeth. To effectively remove tartar, with immediate results, we recommended that you see a dental professional or dental hygienist.
While you may be able to remove some tartar at home, this requires a consistent effort over a longer period of time. At home tartar removal also comes with a higher risk of damage to your tooth enamel, which protects the outside of your teeth and cannot be repaired. Therefore, aim to prevent tartar buildup before it becomes an issue.
Ways to Remove Tartar at Home
Tread with caution when trying to remove tartar at home with the below methods. None of these practices replaces twice-daily brushing of teeth and seeing a dentist or dental hygienist for a professional cleaning twice yearly. What they can do is help keep your teeth white and maintain a healthy smile.
Tartar removing toothpaste, baking soda, white vinegar and aloe vera all have antimicrobial properties which both treat and prevent tartar. The remaining at-home remedies focus on preventing plaque from hardening. These include using orange peel, sesame seeds, coconut oil, eating spicy foods and chewing on guava leaves and fruit. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity or have bleeding gums or wounds in your mouth, avoid using acidic tartar removal methods.
Prevention is Key
When it comes to teeth and oral health, prevention is far better than repairing damage after it’s already happened. Great dental hygiene is the result of daily teeth, gum and mouth cleaning practices.
Plaque is the starting point of tartar. To stop tartar and plaque formation, implement the following oral care habits:
- Brush your teeth twice daily, in the morning and night
- Floss in hard to reach places between teeth and gums daily, ideally at night
- Visit your general dentist twice per year for a check-up, deep clean and fluoride treatment
- Contact a dental professional once you notice tartar build-up for removal
Foods and drinks also play a role in tartar forming. Limit foods that are high in sugar and or starch, such as carbohydrates. When these foods combine with the bacteria in your mouth they will eat away at your tooth enamel and tartar. Drinking water or brushing your teeth after eating and drinking can help wash away this bacteria, stopping tartar from developing.
Tartar Removal Toothpaste
Brushing with regular toothpaste targets acids and food particles in your mouth. To get rid of plaque causing bacteria before it becomes tartar, use a specifically formulated tartar removal toothpaste. Inside are chemicals that bind to tartar and plaque, helping to clean it away as you brush your teeth. Skip any charcoal-based tartar removing toothpaste as there is no scientific proof they work.
Baking soda can prevent and treat tartar buildup on your teeth. Also called sodium bicarbonate, it helps by softening tartar. It also balances the acids in your mouth that create plaque and stop it from turning into tartar. As it is mildly abrasive, it’s an effective option to scrub away stains and whiten your teeth. Although, it cannot remove deeper stains.
Only use a small amount of baking soda and be careful not to damage your tooth enamel by rubbing too hard. Brush your teeth with a mixture of baking soda and water on your toothbrush, or combine it with your toothpaste. You can also leave a paste of baking soda and water on for 15 minutes for added effect.
Gargling with white vinegar can help remove tartar between your teeth and around your gums. Naturally antibacterial, white vinegar will help to demineralise or soften tartar if used once or twice daily as a mouthwash. Swish a mixture of 2 cups of warm water, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and a pinch of salt around your mouth for a few minutes. Do this after or between brushing your teeth. Avoid doing this if you have open wounds in your mouth.
Aloe vera is also antibacterial so it can help prevent plaque and remove tartar buildup. It’s also anti-inflammatory which means it’s also very soothing for people with gum problems, You can either use a mixture of aloe vera juice and water as a mouthwash daily or combine ingredients into a paste and brush your teeth with it. Add 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel with 4 teaspoons of glycerin, 5 tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of water. Only use as much as you need and rinse with warm water afterwards.
Orange peels are full of Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid. It’s an essential nutrient for better oral health, specifically gums. Acidic in nature, vitamin C can gently dissolve tartar build up without harsh scrubbing and combats plaque building bacteria. Vitamin C will also brighten stained and yellow teeth.
Rubbing the inside of orange skin on your gums and teeth, concentrating on areas of built up tartar can help remove it. Or mash the inside of the orange peel with water and use it with a toothbrush to brush your teeth. Do this 2-3 times per week and always finish by rinsing your mouth with warm water.
Sesame seeds contain high levels of calcium, an essential mineral for healthy teeth that strengthens your tooth enamel. Chewing sesame seeds will help remove plaque and is a natural Ayurvedic practice, encouraged every morning. Add a handful of sesame seeds to your mouth and chew until they become a consistency of mush. Then use a dry toothbrush to move the mush over your teeth and gums. Do this for at least 2 minutes then rinse with warm water.
Eating hot and spicy foods containing chilli peppers will boost the saliva in your mouth. Increasing as we eat, saliva helps to clean teeth and will help push leftover food and bacteria down our throat for digestion. Any plaque on your teeth will have less chance of mineralising and turning into tartar.
The Ayurvedic oral practice of oil pulling is basically swishing coconut oil around your mouth for 5-20 minutes in the morning. Coconut oil has antioxidants and is antibacterial so it will help to combat the bacteria in your mouth that create plaque and tartar. Add 1 teaspoon of warm or liquid coconut oil to your mouth and swirl it around, forcing it through the gaps of your teeth for as long as you can. Then spit it out into a paper towel and throw it in the bin, as spitting oil into your sink could clog your drain pipe. Always follow oil pulling with brushing your teeth.
Guava is an anti-plaque fruit that is great for keeping gums healthy. It will provide relief to swollen, painful gums that are inflamed from tartar. You can either chew on washed guava leaves for 2 minutes daily and then spit it out. Or cut up unripe guava into smaller pieces, add a pinch of salt and chew on it once or twice a day.
How Do Dentists Remove Tartar?
Removing tartar effectively is best left to professionals. You may see and feel a difference in your tartar buildup by using at-home remedies, however, know that these methods do not have scientific merit. If you see or feel tartar, your first point of action should always be to make an appointment with your dentist. Their educated approach and skills will remove tartar from delicate gums and teeth without causing further damage.
The dentist or dental hygienist will clean and smooth areas affected by tartar with manual scaling and polishing tools. Scraping tartar from the surface and in between your teeth, above and below your gum line. Where necessary they may use an ultrasonic device or laser to kill bacteria and reduce gum infections.
Putney Dental Care offers expert dental care for the whole family in Putney, Ryde, Meadowbank and Gladesville. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us via phone on (02) 9808 2588 or book online.How to Prepare for Braces Tartar vs Plaque: What’s the Difference?
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