Tartar is a hard, sticky substance that must be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist to be effective. Tartar forms from food debris stuck to saliva that combines with bacteria to form plaque on teeth and gums.

Plaque bacteria can irritate gum tissue and lead to gingivitis or severe periodontitis. While at-home remedies exist to combat tartar build-up, none should replace regular brushing sessions twice daily and professional cleaning appointments twice annually.


Maintaining good oral hygiene requires keeping dental plaque at bay. If left unremoved, plaque can harden into tartar (dental calculus). Tartar or dental calculus is a hard, crusty yellow or brown substance that must be professionally removed by either a dentist or dental hygienist during professional cleaning sessions. Tartar contains mostly dead bacteria that have mineralized along with some mineralized proteins from saliva (spit).

Building up of plaque can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Plaque’s acids eat away at both gums and teeth while its bacteria cause gingivitis inflammation – in more serious cases this inflammation can progress into periodontitis which erodes bone supporting teeth resulting in potential tooth loss.

For optimal tartar prevention, it is best to practice excellent oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice daily with tartar control toothpaste such as Crest brands and flossing daily. Incorporating plenty of water consumption can also help flush away bacteria and food debris that might otherwise harden into plaque. Furthermore, avoid foods and drinks which promote plaque formation such as sugary sodas, candy bars and red wine/tea.

Plaque and tartar may form due to other factors, including dry mouth, crowded or braced teeth and smoking. People suffering from these ailments are at a higher risk for tartar build-up; its removal usually requires visiting their dentist.

Tartar can easily be avoided through proper oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing along with visits to your dentist for cleanings and exams every 6 months. A great toothbrush like Oral-B iO can also help ensure healthy teeth and gums, featuring its powerful Sonic technology which removes plaque and debris for an always fresh feeling smile!


Flossing, along with brushing, is an integral component of at-home preventative oral care. Done correctly, flossing can remove food debris that brushing alone cannot reach, disrupt bacteria that builds up into plaque, and disrupt hardened tartar that forms below and above gum lines causing serious harm such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Tartar can be difficult to remove, but with regular brushing and flossing as well as do-it-yourself gadgets you may be able to successfully manage its removal. The key is catching it early before it develops fully into calculus; once calculus forms it will need professional services from either your dentist or dental hygienist in order to be removed using special dental instruments.

If you catch tartar early enough, it can often be broken off using your fingernail and some force. Otherwise, schedule a dentist visit so your dental hygienist can remove it professionally.

While not a long-term solution, this treatment can help clear away most hardened plaque and reduce the need for more intensive solutions. Depending on how much tartar there is present, additional sessions with your hygienist may be necessary.

Coconut oil pulling is another effective preventative oral care option to keep your mouth in optimal health and keep bacteria at bay, eliminating bad breath and protecting against plaque and tartar build-up. Simply swishing around one tablespoon of coconut oil twice daily will do just the trick – taking 20 minutes or longer each time to gently move around in your mouth can remove bacteria while improving oral hygiene and protecting against plaque build-up!

While not recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), studies suggest it can be effective at supporting oral health. While more research must be completed, this treatment could be particularly helpful for those who find themselves unable to visit their dentist regularly and wish to ward off more severe oral diseases in the future.

Routine Dental Visits

To effectively combat tartar build-up, ensure your teeth are regularly brushed and flossed. Aiming for two minutes twice daily when brushing with fluoride toothpaste designed to kill bacteria will significantly decrease plaque build-up on teeth; flossing daily along with using antibacterial mouthwash will also help safeguard against tooth decay and gum disease.

Even the best brushing and flossing routine will leave some plaque and tartar behind in hard-to-reach places between teeth or along gum lines, where brushing alone cannot reach. A dental hygienist is equipped with special tools designed to remove these deposits, providing thorough cleaning that prevents gum disease as well as other oral health complications that could lead to serious consequences.

On a typical dental appointment, the dentist will inspect a patient’s gums, tongue and throat for signs of disease or other issues. Their dental hygienist may take an X-ray to see what’s happening beneath the gums – this X-ray may detect early stages of cavities or damage to jaw bones that are difficult to detect with visual exams alone.

Dental examinations should be conducted every six months to keep teeth and gums in optimal health and to detect small issues before they become costly to treat. Also, visiting the dentist on an annual basis may help identify problems when they are still small and less costly to address.

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits will not only benefit your overall oral health but also boost your self-esteem and save money over time. Regular dental cleanings and exams will help prevent gum disease, tooth decay and other dental conditions which could otherwise require expensive and painful procedures to resolve. So if it’s time for a dental checkup and cleaning, give our office a call right now – we welcome new patients and look forward to caring for your smile.

Home Remedies

As well as scheduling regular cleaning with a dental hygienist, there are also home remedies you can try to help reduce tartar formation such as salt and white vinegar – items likely already found around your house!

Baking soda’s natural abrasive quality allows it to effectively scrub away plaque before it hardens into tartar. Simply combine equal parts baking soda and salt into a paste form, brush your teeth using this paste, rinse your mouth afterwards, and repeat this treatment once every other day for best results.

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent natural bleaching agent and may also help remove some of the buildup that contributes to tartar build-up. You can use a mixture of two tablespoons of water and one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide once or twice daily as a mouthwash for best results.

Sesame seeds can also help prevent tartar by reducing bacteria levels in your mouth. Try chewing a handful of sesame seeds daily or dipping your toothbrush in sesame oil before brushing. Or purchase mouthwash or toothpaste containing sesame oil to rinse your mouth and eliminate plaque build-up.

Cloves can also assist in fighting tartar by eliminating oral bacteria. Chewing on clove buds or mixing powdered cloves with olive oil to apply directly onto teeth may prove effective against bacteria growth.

Utilizing a whitening strip can also be an effective way of reducing plaque on your teeth before it forms tartar. Many whitening strips contain hydrogen peroxide which helps eliminate some of the bacteria responsible for tartar formation.

Finally, tartar picks can help remove larger pieces of plaque and tartar that can be more challenging to get off through regular brushing or flossing. With its hooked metal end and long and thin design, you can safely scrape away plaque from your teeth with this device. However, for thorough tartar removal it is still best to visit a professional dental cleaning by someone qualified in safely removing tartar such as a dentist or hygienist trained to safely do it for you.

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