Fish sticks aren’t exactly a holiday staple. So, you may not be thinking much about tartar…sauce. At Gentle Dental, we’re not big lovers of tartar sauce, but we downright despise dental tartar! Avoiding tartar buildup is paramount to a healthy mouth; it’s the start of most dental problems.
Here’s a brief explanation of how tartar forms along with some ways to keep tartar from building up on your teeth.
What is tartar?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. They mix with sugars and proteins from food to form a sticky film on your teeth called plaque. Plaque coats your teeth and can get under your gumline. It is the start of a process that leads to tooth decay and gum inflammation.
Fortunately, you can remove plaque by brushing and flossing. Easy peezy. But if you get lazy with your home hygiene, plaque stays on your teeth and hardens into tartar. It can form in a little over a day, and once it’s there, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it. No, your cousin Vinnie over in Monmouth can’t do it with an ice pick!
Six ways to keep tartar in the sauce, not your mouth
- Brush twice a day for two minutes. A quick 45-second job won’t get rid of all the plaque. Be thorough, covering all the tooth surfaces.
- Electronic toothbrushes may do a better job than manual effort. The American Dental Association (ADA) just approved a series of Oral B electric toothbrushes — the first electrics to gain vaunted ADA approval.
- Use tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride. These can help prevent the plaque from hardening into tartar. Plus, the fluoride helps return necessary minerals to the teeth.
- Floss. Probably the single most neglected hygiene area, flossing is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep tartar from forming in hard-to-reach places.
- Watch what you eat. Starchy and sugary foods make the bacteria in your mouth happy. When they eat the byproducts of these foods in your mouth, they release harmful acids that can lead to tooth decay. You don’t have to stop eating anything sweet, but take it easy, and drink water after you do.
- Don’t smoke or quit if you do. Studies show that smokers are more likely to have tartar on their teeth.
Now you know that the only good tartar is the sauce kind, and even it is overrated! Is it time for the Gentle Dental team to break off any tartar that has built up on your teeth? Call us at (732) 549-5660 to make an appointment.