Preventing tartare

Preventing tartare

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Tartare is formed by soft bacterial coatings, so called plaque, that sticks onto the teeth and eventually harden after contact with the saliva.

There are two types of tartare:
- One is formed above the gum line on the inside of the front teeth of the lower jaw and the outside of the large molars in the upper jaw, where the salivary glands produce saliva. 
- The second type of tartare forms if the bacterial coatings are allowed to grow undisturbed along the gum line for a few weeks, causing gum inflammation. You may notice that the gums become reddish, swollen and bleed easily. A superficial inflammation of the gums heals within 1-2 weeks, if you clean all the tooth surfaces at the gum line once a day. However, if you have deeper gum pockets, you must be treated by a dental professional.

Tartare first has a grainy, porous and usually a white, chalky color. When it then hardens, it can get a darker color due too, from for example tobacco, coffee, tea and wine.

In some people, calcium salts are precipitated quickly out of the saliva and tartare above the gum line is formed already after a week, while others hardly develop any tartare at all. During the first 2-3 weeks, it is often possible to brush off the bacterial coating. But if the coatings have hardened, you need to go to a dentist or dental hygienist to remove it. Many people notice themselves when a lot of tartare has formed, as one can often feel its rough surface with the tip of the tongue. Sometimes tartare is visible as well (especially on the inside of the front teeth of the lower jaw). Smoking and other discoloring substances increases the visibility of tartare.

4 tips to avoid tartare:

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, twice daily
  • Use mouthwash with fluoride
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Get a dentist check-up once a year
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