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07 Apr

What is tartar and What its relationship with tooth loss


In today’s blog we’ll focus on the relationship between tartar and tooth loss, what makes tartar build up in our mouth and ways we can prevent future damage to our oral health. In essence, tartar is a hard-mineral deposit on teeth.  It is also known as plaque.  A rough, bumpy line at the base of the teeth is one sign. However, don’t be fooled, tartar can also form below the gum line, which is why your regular dental visits will help us spot any early signs of tartar buildup. 

No matter how great of an oral hygiene routine you have, there will always be bacteria in your mouth. Over time, they mix with the proteins and food you’ve ingested to form a sticky film called plaque. This gunk coats your teeth, gets under your gum line, and sticks to fillings or other dental work. The dangerous bacteria in the plaque are what ruins your enamel and leaves your teeth exposed to damage. 

Tartar can also be an aesthetic problem. Because tartar is more porous, it absorbs stains easily. So, if you are a coffee or tea drinker, or if you smoke, it is especially important to prevent tartar buildup. 

How does tartar lead to tooth loss?

Tartar can also lead to some more serious diseases such as gum disease. This occurs at the point where pockets form between the gums and teeth and get infected by bacteria. Gingivitis, the mildest and most common form of disease, occurs when gums become red, swollen, and start to bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. However, what many people don’t realize is that your gums provide a protective barrier between the bone and the plaque bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, when your gums become infected, you are at a higher risk of causing damage to your bone and the surrounding tissue that provide the support structure of your teeth. Eventually, if left untreated, this leads to tooth loss


What to do to prevent this from happening? 

  • Brush regularly, twice a day for two minutes. A 30-second scrub twice a day won’t remove plaque or prevent tartar. Use a brush with soft bristles that is small enough to fit into your mouth and will reach the hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and on your rear molars.
  • Choose tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride will help repair enamel damage. Some products have a substance called triclosan that fights the bacteria in plaque.
  • Make sure to floss! No matter how good you are with a toothbrush, dental floss is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep tartar out of these hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rinse daily. Use an antiseptic mouthwash daily to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
  • Watch your diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugary and starchy foods. When they’re exposed to those foods, they release harmful acids. Try to eat a healthy diet and limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. Every time you eat, you also feed the bacteria in your mouth. You don’t have to give up sweets completely, just be mindful about how often you indulge. It also helps to brush and drink plenty of water during and after meals.
  • Don’t smoke. Studies show that people who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products are more likely to have tartar.


If you feel that you need a dental visit to remove tartar or check any further damage that can lead to a tooth lost, we have a team of professionals at Maida Smiles that will help you achieve your desired oral health. 


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