The best way to prevent the serious effects of tartar is to prevent it from forming. Here’s how:
- Brush regularly using the proper technique. A quick, 30-second brushing of your teeth morning and night is not enough to remove dental plaque and prevent tartar build-up. Use a brush with soft bristles that is small enough to reach all the areas in your mouth. Be sure to include the hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and on your rear molars.
Studies have found that electronic, or powered, toothbrushes may be more effective than manual toothbrushes for plaque removal. Regardless of which type of toothbrush you use, be sure it has approval from a dental authority, as these models will have undergone rigorous quality control and safety tests.
Choose tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride. Toothpastes containing pyrophosphates can help prevent plaque from hardening into tartar. Additionally, the fluoride will help repair any damage to your enamel that may have already occurred. Some formulas also contain triclosan, an antibiotic that fights the bacteria in plaque.
- Floss, floss, floss. No matter how diligent you are about brushing your teeth, only flossing daily can remove the plaque between your teeth and prevent tartar formation in these difficult-to-reach areas.
- Watch your diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugary and starchy foods. When they are exposed to those foods, they release damaging acids. Try to eat a healthy diet and limit the amount of sugar-rich food you eat. Be aware that every time you eat you are also feeding the bacteria in your mouth. Drinking plenty of water during and after meals may also help minimise plaque build-up.
- Don’t smoke. Studies show that people who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products are more likely to have dental calculus on their teeth and under their gums.
Once tartar has formed, it is important to realise only a dental professional will be able to remove it. Make sure you visit your dentist or hygienist regularly as advised by your dentist to remove any tartar that might have formed and prevent further complications.