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You’ve probably heard the word “tartar” quite often. It is usually mentioned in toothpaste commercials and many people mistake it to be the same thing as plaque! To shed a little light on this substance, here are a few interesting facts about tartar.

1. Tartar is calcified plaque.

When plaque—a colorless, sticky film that naturally forms on your teeth— has been sitting on your teeth for a long time, it begins to harden. This calcified, dark-colored substance is known as tartar. And while plaque is easy to remove, tartar is a much different story.

2. It must be removed by a dental professional.

Once tartar has hardened onto your teeth and turned into the blackish brown color, it can no longer be removed with a simple brushing or flossing. At this point, it must be removed by a dental hygienist using the scaling method. This technique requires special instruments to remove tartar buildup from below the gum line.

3. Tartar was found on prehistoric humans.

Plaque and tartar are not unique to modern man. In fact, tartar was discovered on human remains in a cave in Tel Aviv that dated back around 400,000 years. It seems that they even created toothpicks to try to remedy the issue!

4. It can harm your gums and lead to oral health issues.

When tartar is hardened onto your teeth, it becomes like a trap to harmful bacteria. This bacteria can irritate your gums and lead to an infection known as gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. If not removed, this illness can progress to cause a number of serious health issues like respiratory illness, heart disease, and stroke.

5. Your diet could be contributing to tartar buildup.

Does your diet consist of mostly starchy and sugary foods? If so, you need to be particularly diligent about preventing tartar buildup. The bacteria in plaque feed on starch and sugar in your foods. Therefore, by maintaining a plaque-friendly diet, it may be more difficult to be rid of it before it turns to tartar.

6. Tartar buildup can be easily prevented.

Luckily, tartar buildup is easy to prevent! By maintaining a good dental hygiene routine—which includes brushing twice a day and flossing regularly— you can remove plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar.

Have you noticed tartar buildup on your teeth? Don’t worry! At TruBlu Dentistry, we can help to remove tartar before it causes damage to your gums. Call us today to schedule a routine check-up and professional cleaning to remove tartar and improve your oral health.

Be proud of your smile.