You’ve likely seen or heard the term in toothpaste advertisements or while sitting in the dentist’s chair–but do you really know what tartar is and how it affects you? Keep reading to get the facts on tartar, as well as tips on how to prevent it.

Tartar, also known as “calculus”, is essentially hardened plaque. When plaque (the sticky film that collects on teeth and under gums) is ignored by your toothbrush and floss, that plaque becomes a hard, calcified deposit that bonds itself to the enamel. Once the plaque hardens into tartar, you won’t get rid of it until you see your dentist, as only he or she can remove it using special tools. Note that tartar tends to build up faster as you get older and therefore should be monitored closely.

Dental tartar is a health issue as it invites the formation of cavities and the onset of gum disease. But it’s also a cosmetic issue. Tartar appears yellow to brown and is easily visible to others. It is also porous, so it attracts stains, making tartar even more obvious.

While you can’t fix tartar by yourself, you can take steps to prevent it:

  • Brush twice a day using a tartar-control toothpaste
  • Floss daily between teeth and especially under the gum line
  • Avoid sugar as plaque and tartar-causing bacteria thrive on it
  • Don’t use tobacc
  • Eat crunchy fruits and veggies that will scrub teeth naturally
  • chedule regular cleanings with your dentist to beat tartar before it begins

For your health and for a more attractive smile, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe today to make your cleaning & prevention appointment with Dr. Jue.