Tartar is a hard, yellowish deposit on teeth that is derived from mineral salts, food and other debris that has hardened over time, according to WorldDental.org. If plaque is not removed from teeth through brushing and flossing, or if a person has periodontal disease that does not clear the mouth of bacteria and toxins, the plaque turns into tartar. This type of tartar cannot be removed simply by brushing the teeth.
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Visit your dentist to set up an appointment for scaling or debridement. Scaling is a procedure that mechanically fractures the deposits of each tooth using a pointed instrument and a polish, which removes tartar and other stains from the teeth. Debridement uses a combination of instruments and high-frequency vibrations to loosen tartar from the teeth.
Use a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphate. Though some toothpastes claim to remove minor tartar build-up, they will definitely remove the plaque that causes tartar and gum disease if used correctly.
To remove plaque before it turns into tartar, brush your teeth for two to four minutes twice a day, and floss--which, according to dentist Richard Shepard, is more important for plaque removal than brushing.
Reduce the amount you smoke cigarettes, drink hard alcohol and use peroral drugs, and brush immediately after drinking coffee and tea, which could all cause tartar build-up and stains on your teeth.
Tips and warnings
- Use a teeth-whitening kit after you visit the dentist for a tartar removal procedure. If you try using a kit to hide the tartar on your teeth, the kit may not cover the tartar and might make it more noticeable.
- Do not try scaling your teeth at home. Only a dentist can provide the correct tools and experience to correctly remove the tartar without causing damage to your teeth.
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