Tartar or calculus are hardened deposits of plaque with the ability to cause severe problems to your dental and overall health.
Keeping a good oral hygiene means not only having cleaner, better looking teeth, but also preventing severe risks for our health. When plaque accumulates after eating or drinking, brushing and flossing are essential to prevent it from forming the hardened layers of mineral deposits known as calculus or tartar. These deposits, which show as yellow or brown layers over the teeth, can cause inflammation of the gums and can lead to gum recession and gingivitis. Tartar, however, is too hard to be removed by normal brushing and flossing; that’s why daily plaque control becomes so important.
When the tartar is already formed, only professional cleaning performed by a dentist or an oral hygienist can remove it. The procedure to achieve that is called tooth scaling, and consists on the cleaning of calculus both above and below the gum line. There are three main causes for the creation of tartar:
BACTERIA from the dental plaque produce acid that eats away the calcium from the tooth enamel.
MINERALS from saliva form crystals that harden plaque. Calcium phosphate is an indissoluble material that bounds to the tooth enamel along the gum line causing hidden calculus deposits.
DEPOSITS of calcium roughen the surface of the tooth allowing dental plaque to accumulate and grow.
When calculus accumulates on teeth, it can be presented in two different ways: as supra-gingival or as sub-gingival calculus. Supra-gingival calculus, accumulated above the gum margin, is the most common type. It is visible and easily identified; its early detection and removal make it less harmful. Sub-gingival calculus forms pockets between the teeth and the gums, harbouring plaque under the gum margin. It is hidden and cannot be brushed off, so it might not be detected until a serious dental problem reveals it. The most common of these problems is periodontitis, which can lead to gum recession and to the need of teeth replacement procedures to preserve the structure of the oral cavity.
Looking for yellowish and rough areas over the teeth and along the gum lineand keeping regular check-ups with a qualified dentists are the two best ways of controlling tartar. The two professional hygienists at Perfect Smile’s dental clinic in Putney advise of the importance of brushing and flossing at least twice a day, especially for those patients who are under teeth straightening treatment. They also recommend patients to undergo regular dental cleaning visits and preventive tooth scaling once a year if there is a tendency to accumulate tartar. Opened seven days a week, with seven fully digital surgeries and a team of nine dental specialists, Perfect Smile’s Putney clinic is able to offer patients the best treatments to remove and prevent the harbouring of dental calculus.
Knowing how to perform a good oral hygiene is the key to prevent all dental health risks derived from calculus.