An annual visit to the dentist’s office is the bare minimum to ensure that your teeth are in good shape. Some people may even opt to visit dental hygienists twice a year, dependent upon the health of their teeth and whether they’re having any issues.
Regardless of whether go for a professional cleaning once a year, twice a year, or six times a year, most people only find themselves brushing in-between visits. A few may go so far as to floss, too, though if people were willing to admit it, most of us don’t floss as much as the dentist recommends (which is every day).
Other steps to good oral hygiene
In addition to flossing regularly, another important thing to do in-between visits to your dentist is to remove tartar build-up from your teeth. This is something dentists do, but wouldn’t it be nice if your cleaning wasn’t as intense and you didn’t have to spend as much time in the dentist’s chair having them scrape your teeth?
One way you can do this is by removing tartar at home. Brushing your teeth is a great way to get some surface tartar off of your teeth. However, you can’t reach all of your teeth and cover all of your gum areas with your toothbrush. Read on to learn more about tartar and what you can do to remove it from your teeth on your own.
What is tartar?
You’ve heard the term “tartar,” but do you know what it is? (And no, we aren’t talking about your favorite sauce to eat with fish.)
Tartar is created when plaque in your teeth hardens. Plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria and sugar, and over time, if it’s not properly removed, it can harden and become tartar.
Why is tartar buildup bad?
If you get plaque buildup, you run the risk of issues such as gum disease and cavities. And if you let that plaque buildup continue, then you may find yourself with tartar issues. These often happen around the gum line and may lead to inflammation and bleeding.
In addition to that, tartar is absorbent and can soak into stains. Stains are often caused by drinking liquids that are colored, such as wine, tea, and coffee. So, you may find your teeth stained if you have tartar buildup and are drinking these beverages.
How do I know if I have tartar buildup?
The first sign of tartar buildup is a gross feeling on your teeth. You may find that there is a rough substance in your mouth and on your teeth that, no matter how much you brush, just won’t go away. When you leave the dentist with your teeth feeling as slick as ice, that’s because the dentist has removed all of the tartar buildup, and your teeth are now smooth.
Another way you can tell if you have issues with tartar buildup is if your gums bleed when you brush them or if they appear inflamed.
How do I remove tartar at home?
Now that you have all the background information on tartar, it’s time to get into how you can get rid of this gross stuff at home.
Brushing twice a day. Use a soft toothbrush to get rid of daily plaque before it turns into tartar. You can even consider using fluoride toothpaste to help get rid of plaque build-up on your teeth’s surface.
Flossing twice a day. Since your toothbrush can’t reach in between your teeth, it is essential to floss twice a day so that you can get in the nooks and crannies and get out plaque and tartar to help avoid common dental problems.
Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Using a fluoride mouthwash helps you get rid of any bacteria in your mouth that brushing and flossing miss. This is key in helping your teeth stay free of plaque.
Brush your teeth with a baking soda mix. Using a mixture of baking soda and salt to brush your teeth is an effective way of getting rid of tartar. This is because the combination of those two ingredients helps soften the plaque and tartar in your teeth so that you can easily remove them. Put the paste on your toothbrush and brush as you would with toothpaste, followed by a lukewarm water rinse and gargle. This can also help give you brighter teeth, even helping to replace yellow teeth with nice, bright, white teeth.
In addition to helping with tartar removal, the baking soda and salt mixture helps get rid of bacteria in your mouth that can lead to future issues with plaque and tartar. Because baking soda is quite intense, you don’t want to use it on your teeth in its purest form every day. This is something you want to do at the most once a week, but probably once a month to keep tartar issues at bay.
It is important that you do not just get your own plaque removal tools like your dentist uses and try them at home. There is a reason that dentists have to go to school for as long as they do, and that is to ensure that any work they do on your teeth is performed properly and safely. Going at your teeth with tools will probably not give you the results you want and may end up causing your teeth harm that is far worse than tartar buildup.
So, be sure to visit your dentist at least once a year, or as much as they recommend for your specific needs to keep your teeth in tip-top shape.