What is tartar or calcified plaque?
Tartar, also known as dental plaque, is composed mainly of :
- Hydroxyapatite, apatite;
- Proteins, carbohydrates;
- Minerals such as brushite and whitlockite;
- Remains of tissues.
Deposits of this type occur particularly often on the lower incisors as well as on the outside of the upper molars, because a particularly large amount of saliva accumulates in these places. The fluid escapes to important protective and digestive functions, but in combination with poor oral hygiene, it leads to disease.
If solid plaque forms in the visible dental area, it is called supragingival calculus. Tartar can also form under the neck of the tooth and thus be covered by the gums. This is called subgingival calculus or tartar.
How is plaque and therefore tartar created?
The cause of the formation is the inorganic composition of the saliva. These inorganic substances tend to accumulate in the soft coatings of the teeth. A chemical reaction occurs and the deposits harden: stubborn tartar is formed.
Every oral cavity contains a multitude of germs that are part of the natural and healthy oral flora. Regular and proper brushing of your teeth removes food residues and prevents too many germs from settling in, which then use the food components for your metabolism. Poor oral hygiene and crowded teeth promote the formation of plaque. Inadequate flossing also leads to faster formation of plaque and solid deposits - especially in the lower incisor area.
Tartar develops in four phases:
1. A thin layer of plaque forms on the natural enamel of the teeth only four hours after brushing, but it does not yet contain bacteria.
2. Food remains are the basis for the multiplication of caries pathogens in the oral cavity. These bacteria also cling to the thin layer of saliva.
3. Over time, plaque builds up on the teeth.
4. If the plaque is not removed, it can mineralize in 8 to 10 days, resulting in tartar.
How can tartar affect the teeth and gums?
Tartar cannot be completely avoided and it affects your dental health. Plaque, from which tartar forms, is always deposited on your teeth naturally. On the one hand, tartar can grow and, on the other hand, it also provides a breeding ground for bacteria. The acids secreted attack the enamel of the teeth and can then lead to tooth decay which, if left untreated, penetrates the interior of the tooth to the root. Severe inflammation can lead to tooth loss or even more serious health complications if the inflammation spreads to the heart or brain.
Bacteria can also cause gum irritation or inflammation. Gum inflammation can usually be resolved with careful dental care and the use of mouthwash. However, if the gingivitis worsens, periodontitis can occur. This can lead to bone resorption and tooth loss.
How do you remove tartar from your teeth?
The most important thing you need to know about tartar removal is that calcified plaque cannot be completely removed with a toothbrush, but must be removed by the dentist.
While soft deposits (plaque) can be easily removed with a toothbrush and dental floss, professional cleaning and treatment of the teeth at the dentist is useful for plaque that has solidified, and therefore for tartar.
This requires the use of special devices such as curettes or ultrasound instruments. The dentist uses curettes by hand, while ultrasound is performed by machine. Ultrasound uses high-frequency, heat-generating waves. The resulting vibrations cause solid deposits on the teeth to flake off.
You can prevent tartar with comprehensive dental care:
You lay the foundation for successful tartar prevention with careful and regular dental care.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes. Use a soft to medium-hard toothbrush with a brush head that is not too large and hygienic plastic bristles. Don't neglect the hardest-to-reach areas on the inner tooth surfaces and the tooth surfaces of the back molars. Electric toothbrushes may not be more advanced, but they make it easier to clean teeth thoroughly, since no brushing technique is innate. Also choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride, as this helps repair damaged tooth enamel (fluoride content of 1000 ppm - 1500 ppm). You can only remove plaque from the spaces between your teeth by flossing regularly.