When plaque becomes hard and unmanageable, it can be dangerous for your dental health. Hard plaque, or tartar, can cause problems with your gums over time, including gingivitis and infection. The following tartar prevention and removal tips can help you maintain a healthier mouth today.

How to Prevent the Formation of Tartar

Tartar comes from plaque, a soft biofilm that coats the surfaces of your teeth. When the biofilm hardens, it turns into calculus, or tartar. Once tartar forms on your tooth enamel, it can lead to inflammation in the gums as well as tooth decay.

The best way to keep tartar at bay is to follow the 2 by 2 rule. The 2 by 2 rule requires you to clean your teeth two times a day for a minimum of two minutes each toothbrushing session. If you have trouble following the 2-minute rule, consider using a smart brushing app or a smart toothbrush program to help you out. You can also use a regular kitchen timer to complete your sessions. Be sure to floss between each front, side, and back tooth to maximize your results.

If you follow the 2 by 2 rule and still manage to get tartar on your teeth, remove it.

How to Remove Tartar Safely

Tartar can be virtually impossible to get rid of with a toothbrush and floss once it forms on your tooth enamel. If you use a store-bought scraper to clean your teeth, you might accidentally scratch your enamel or traumatize your gums. To stay safe, you'll need to have a dentist remove the tartar from your teeth instead.

A dentist (or their hygienist) will need to break up the calculus with a dental-grade pick. The pick generally lifts up tartar and cleans soft plaque from between, behind, and below your gums. Some dental providers also use tools that emit air and water to remove tartar buildup. The tools used by the dentist you select for services may depend on the:

  • Amount of tartar on your teeth
  • Condition of your gums
  • Overall health of your mouth

Once a dentist removes all signs of tartar from your teeth, they'll coat your tooth enamel with fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and fights bacterial buildup. If you require any other treatment during your visit, a dentist will discuss it with you.

For more ideas on how to prevent and remove tartar, consult a dental provider soon.