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Understanding Tartar: What It Is and How to Prevent Build-Up

Gentle dental care is a cornerstone of maintaining a beautiful smile. And part of that care entails understanding dental challenges that most of us encounter: for instance, tartar. Located in the heart of Hornsby, Gentle Care Dentistry is committed to ensuring that our community stays informed about oral health concerns. In today's article, we'll delve into what tartar is and offer insights into preventing its accumulation.

The Need To Know About Tartar:

What is Tartar?

Tartar, also known as calculus, is a hardened deposit that forms on teeth. It's a progression from dental plaque, which is the sticky film of bacteria that coats our teeth daily. When this plaque is not removed efficiently, minerals from our saliva combine with the plaque, causing it to harden over time and evolve into tartar.

Unlike the soft and easily removable plaque, tartar is much more tenacious. It can develop both above and below the gum line, posing various dental issues. Not only is tartar unsightly (often manifesting as a yellow or brownish deposit on the teeth near the gumline), but its presence can also lead to severe dental problems if unaddressed.

Why is Tartar a Concern?

  1. Gum Disease: Tartar build-up can result in gum diseases like gingivitis and the more severe periodontitis. The presence of tartar aggravates the gum tissue, leading to inflammation, redness, bleeding, and eventually, gum recession.

  2. Tooth Decay: The bacteria harboured in tartar demineralise the tooth's enamel, increasing the risk of cavities.

  3. Aesthetic Concerns: Tartar deposits, especially when stained, can compromise the cosmetic appearance of one's teeth.

  4. Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, can be exacerbated by tartar, as it provides a larger surface area for bacteria to thrive.

Preventing Tartar Build-Up

  1. Regular Brushing: Brush your teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled brush, ensuring you reach every surface of every tooth. Electric toothbrushes can be especially effective against plaque.

  2. Floss Daily: Flossing helps remove food particles and bacteria from between teeth and below the gumline – areas your toothbrush might miss.

  3. Rinse with an Antiseptic Mouthwash: This aids in reducing the plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth.

  4. Watch Your Diet: Limit sugary snacks and eat a balanced diet. Sugars and starches feed the bacteria that form plaque.

  5. Regular Dental Check-ups and Cleanings: Visit Gentle Care Dentistry in Hornsby at least twice a year for professional cleanings. No matter how diligent you are, some plaque might still remain on your teeth and harden into tartar. Your dental hygienist uses specialized tools to remove tartar, ensuring your teeth remain clean and healthy.

  6. Consider a Tartar-Control Toothpaste: These toothpastes contain ingredients designed to break down plaque on the teeth.

  7. Stay Hydrated: A dry mouth can accelerate plaque and tartar formation. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

In conclusion, while tartar is a common dental concern, it is preventable. Adopting a diligent oral hygiene regimen is the first line of defence. And remember, even if you have some tartar build-up, it's never too late to take control. The team at Gentle Care Dentistry in Hornsby is always here to help, ensuring your smile remains as radiant as ever. Book an appointment today to stay on top of your oral health.


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