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There is a colorless, sticky film that coats your teeth after you eat. This film, known as plaque, hardens into tartar if you don’t clean your teeth every day. Plaque forms as bacteria in the mouth react with sugar and starches from food and drinks consumed. This reaction creates acid that can erode your tooth enamel. Plaque can form four to twelve hours after brushing, and once it hardens into tartar, it bonds to your enamel and will need to be removed by your dentist using scaling instruments. Tartar becomes a crusty deposit that traps stains on your teeth because it is porous. Smoking tobacco, drinking tea, coffee or wine can create stains. As calcium and phosphate bind together to form crystals on your teeth, tartar develops above your gum line, irritating gum tissue which can turn into gum disease over time.

Controlling Tartar

1- Prevent Tartar build up by making sure to brush your teeth twice every day, for two minutes. Brushing less than two minutes can’t properly remove plaque. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently clean the gums. Studies have found powered toothbrushes (whether electric or battery) are more effective at cleaning hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth. They are also easier to use by people with limited manual dexterity.

2- A tartar-control toothpaste will also help curb plaque. If the toothpaste contains fluoride it can also help repair damaged tooth enamel.

3- Floss between your teeth and near the gum line at least once daily. Any kind of flossing method works, either a water flosser, waxed ribbon floss, or a hand-held pre-threaded pick.

4- Rinsing with an ADA (American Dental Association) approved antiseptic mouthwash helps remove bacteria that could turn into plaque.

5- Limit between-meal snacking and if you sip sweetened drinks during the day, use a straw to limit exposure to your teeth. Eat a healthy diet that supports your teeth and gums.

6- Saliva helps neutralize bacterial acids in the mouth, so avoid dry mouth and hydrate yourself with plenty of water.

7- And finally, keep your scheduled dental visits twice a year for a thorough cleaning and checkup. This is when tartar will be cleared off your teeth, helping to prevent gum disease.

Our dental team at Jackson Dental is here to help you achieve a healthy smile! We invite you to call us at 810-667-3535 to schedule your next cleaning or to answer any questions.