What is tartar on teeth?


What is tartar on teeth?

Tooth tartar can come in many colors. However, most of the time it is black, orange or yellow. Tooth tartar that has just formed usually has a light yellow or orange color, but it will turn black over time and stick to the roots of the teeth. Hardened tartar that forms near the gums around the roots and can cause inflammation has similar colors. However, removing it is a little more difficult than removing plaque.

Here is a guide to help you learn more about tartar formation on teeth

What is dental tartar and how do you recognize it?

Tartar is an accumulation of dental plaque. It is composed of food deposits and bacteria that calcify when not removed by brushing. Everyone produces tartar at a greater or lesser rate depending on several factors such as saliva or oral hygiene.

How does dental plaque form on the teeth?

Plaque is made up of food remains that get stuck in the interdental spaces and are not removed by brushing. It is composed of sugars, acids but also salivary proteins. It starts to form on the teeth about 4 to 12 hours after brushing, which is why it is so important to brush well at least twice a day and to floss or use interdental brushes daily between your teeth. The evening brushing is the most important brushing of the teeth because the 'passive cleaning' done by the movements of your tongue and cheeks is not done. The color of your teeth varies from white to brown depending on the foods you eat; it can turn black if you drink too much tea, coffee or tobacco.

Diseases associated with tartar formation on the teeth

Dental caries

Tooth decay is a destruction of the enamel and dentin of the teeth with the formation of a cavity. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth and favored by the consumption of sugar which causes the formation of dental plaque.


Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. It is caused by poor oral hygiene which favors the formation of dental plaque and therefore dental tartar on the teeth.

Gum inflammation and bleeding

Bleeding gums are often a clinical sign of gingivitis or gum inflammation. It is a common and mild form of gum disease, caused by the accumulation of dental plaque (bacterial plaque) in the gums.

Periodontitis: The pockets become deeper and the plaque hardens into tartar. More plaque accumulates on top. The bacterial infection spreads to the root of the tooth and then destroys the bone that supports the tooth

Bad Breath

Plaque bacteria constantly build up on and between your teeth, and this can cause halitosis. As these bacteria break down food in your mouth, they can release foul-smelling gas, which causes your breath to smell bad. 

Abscesses and tooth pain

This is an infection that occurs in the gums. Pus leaks out around the gum line. The cause can be a piece of tartar or a food particle lodged between the tooth and the gum (like a popcorn kernel). The treatment of a gum abscess is very simple, just clean the gum.

Techniques to get rid of tartar on your teeth

There are several particularly effective ways to remove tartar from your teeth. These methods must be combined to obtain optimal results and a total elimination of bacterial plaque.

1) Brushing your teeth properly

Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day for 2 minutes. It is especially wise to choose a toothpaste to remove plaque if you tend to produce a lot of plaque. If you're not sure you're getting through everything to remove plaque properly, use a plaque remover once or twice a week. This is a type of toothpaste that brightly colors the areas where plaque remains. It's a great way to know where you need to brush again and to insist on removing all the bacterial plaque.

2) Use of interdental brushes and dental floss

The use of interdental brushes or dental floss. This allows you to remove plaque in places that the toothbrush cannot reach. This is often the case in the groove, on the occlusal surface of the tooth (the surface of the tooth used for chewing), or in the spaces between the teeth.

3) Mouthwash

The use of anti-plaque mouthwash. It completes brushing and dissolves dental plaque, while reinforcing the enamel of the teeth, which is thus less fragile in the face of acid attacks from bacteria. There are different mouthwashes that allow to eliminate the dental plaque that causes tartar on the teeth.

Here are the different mouthwashes that cause tartar on the teeth:

Mouthwash with sesame oil

The sesame oil mouthwash is a method of oil pulling which allows to capture the bacteria which hide between our teeth and which the traditional toothpastes or mouthwashes do not necessarily allow to eliminate.

Here is the recipe for sesame oil mouthwash:

  • Take a tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Gargle your mouth with it for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Circulate the oil around your mouth, remembering not to forget certain areas of your teeth
  • Spit and rinse your teeth with warm water
  • Mouthwash with white vinegar

    White vinegar has powerful antibacterial properties that can help you maintain good dental hygiene when used properly. It should be used once a week to avoid damaging the enamel of your teeth.

    Here is the recipe for white vinegar mouthwash:
  • Fill half a glass with water (50 ml), preferably mineral.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
  • You can also add the juice of half a lemon for a better taste and to benefit from its antiseptic action.
  • As vinegar is very acidic, it is advisable to rinse with water and baking soda.

    Tartar removal by a dental surgeon

    Treatment by scaling

    It is essential to make an appointment with your dentist in order to benefit from a good tartar removal on your teeth. He is the only one who can do a complete cleaning of your teeth and gums. This type of care significantly reduces the risk of gingivitis, cavities and periodontal disease. Both above and below the gum line, all tartar will be removed during the consultation.

    To carry out this treatment, your dentist has the option of using two different techniques. He or she will begin by using ultrasonic instruments and continue with a manual curettage using periodontal curettes. The use of ultrasound instruments does not cause pain. The principle is simple: it will emit vibrations on the teeth accompanied by a jet of water to loosen tartar and remove particles. Your dentist will then polish your teeth to smooth the surface using appropriate instruments.

    Methods to prevent tartar from forming on your teeth

    To avoid having to resort to invasive treatments to remove tartar from the teeth, the best recommendation is to prevent its formation. The first step is to maintain good dental hygiene, thus avoiding the formation of tartar, the accumulation of food debris and dental plaque.

    • Brush your teeth properly after every meal.
    • Use a soft or medium bristle toothbrush, manual or electric.
    • Brush thoroughly with dental floss, interproximal brushes and/or mouthwash.
    • Finish by cleaning your tongue and inner cheeks with a tongue scraper.
    • Remember to visit your dentist every 6 to 12 months for a complete check-up.

    You can brush your teeth with a sonic toothbrush such as the Y-Brush. This is a toothbrush that removes 15% more plaque than a traditional toothbrush. 

    We hope this guide has helped you understand what dental tartar is. We also hope that you have understood how plaque forms on your teeth. We recommend that you carefully read about the different oral diseases associated with tartar on your teeth. The techniques for getting rid of plaque are effective. However, it is particularly important to have a scaling done by your dentist. The different methods to prevent the formation of tartar on the teeth are to be done after the scaling of your teeth.


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