Some people only know the word “tartar” from the sauce they slather on their fish. But the plethora of good fish we can get here in Melbourne deserves more respect than that!
As 2018 winds down, the team here at Implant Dentistry of Florida is more concerned with the other tartar, the kind that builds up on the teeth of our patients. It’s the beginning of many dental problems.
What is tartar?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. They mix with sugars and proteins from food to form a sticky film on your teeth called plaque. Plaque coats your teeth and can get under your gumline. It is the start of a process that leads to tooth decay and gum inflammation.
But plaque is easy to beat down; all you have to do is brush and floss every day with a little bit of concentration. But if you get lazy with your home hygiene, plaque stays on your teeth, and it hardens into tartar. It can form in a little over a day, and once it’s there, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it.
Six ways to keep tartar from building on your teeth
This whole tartar business doesn’t necessarily need to happen. Here are six ways we like to tell our Implant Dentistry of Florida patients to control tartar buildup on their teeth.
- Brush twice a day for two minutes. A quick 45-second job won’t get rid of all the plaque. Be thorough, covering all the tooth surfaces.
- Electronic toothbrushes may do a better job than manual effort. The American Dental Association (ADA) just approved a series of Oral B electric toothbrushes — the first electrics to gain vaunted ADA approval.
- Use tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride. These can help prevent the plaque from hardening into tartar. Plus, the fluoride helps return necessary minerals to the teeth.
- Floss. How many of you floss every night? Are you willing to take a lie detector on that? Alas, flossing is probably the single most neglected hygiene area, but flossing is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep tartar from forming in hard-to-reach places.
- Watch what you eat. Starchy and sugary foods make the bacteria in your mouth happy. When they eat the byproducts of these foods in your mouth, they release harmful acids that can lead to tooth decay. You don’t have to stop eating anything sweet, but take it easy, and drink water after you do.
- Don’t smoke or quit if you do. Studies show that smokers are more likely to have tartar on their teeth.
Most of us do build up some degree of tartar in certain spots. That’s why professional cleanings are scheduled every six months — that’s how long it takes to build up sufficiently. Don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning and exam for 2019. Contact us at (321) 372-7700 to make your appointment.