ThinkstockPhotos-464323669If you’ve purchased a toothbrush or mouthwash lately, you’ve probably seen the phrase “tartar control”. And while you may not know what it is, the average person enjoys anything that says it is controlling a bad dental visit. However, many patients don’t realize what tartar actually is, or why simple brushing, flossing, and mouthwash may not entirely eliminate tartar. But to help keep your mouth healthy, it’s important to know the ABCs of tartar.

As you eat, bacteria and food particles combine to form a sticky yellow film known as plaque. Plaque coats your teeth – it’s difficult to clean, and it accumulates in cracks, crevices, and beneath the gum line even as you brush it off of the exposed surfaces of your teeth. The bacteria contained in plaque creates acids that damage your tooth enamel and cavities. If plaque is allowed to stay on your teeth, it hardens into a calcified substance known as tartar.

Typically, tartar will need to be removed with professional cleaning, which is one of the reasons dentists recommend professional cleaning every 6 months. Because tartar is so difficult to remove, it’s often best to avoid allowing plaque to harden into tartar by brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and using antibacterial mouthwash. Because tartar takes 12-24 hours to harden, brushing twice a day – or after each meal – gives you multiple opportunities to catch plaque before it becomes tartar. For any tartar you miss, you’ll need to rely on your routine professional cleaning to remove.

To learn more about tartar control, please contact Dr Alhadef  at 214-368-2434 to schedule a consultation or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com.

Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS proudly serves Dallas and all surrounding areas.