They sure are handy when you smile, so keep your teeth around a while. – Dr. Seuss
We all have been told the importance of brushing and flossing our teeth twice a day, over and over again. Yet, we come across dental issues like Calculus Bridge or Tartar, Plaque, Tooth Decay, Gum Diseases etc. which is a result of the bacteria present in our mouths, even after brushing. In this article, we will be particularly talking about Calculus Bridge, which is popularly known as Tartar.
1. What is Calculus Bridge or Tartar?
To understand what a Calculus Bridge or Tartar is, we first need to know what Plaque is. Plaque is the sticky layer that is formed between the gum line and the teeth. This is caused due to the bacteria that resides in the mouth as a result of the combination of saliva and food. This Sticky layer is called Plaque.
Calculus is the calcified or the hardened form of Plaque. If the Plaque is neglected, it calcifies or hardens and forms Calculus Bridge or Tartar. Calculus can occur even in a few weeks. If left untreated, calculus can lead to a number of teeth and gum related issues.
2. How big of a problem is Calculus?
The plaque itself is quite bad, but if the Plaque converts into a Calculus; then you have a bigger problem in hand. Calculus is the dead bacteria, which ends up mineralizing. Calculus is made up of magnesium phosphate, calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate. Calculus leads to further growth of Plaque.
This can worsen it, and can lead to problems such as gum disease, receding gums, bad breath and can cause a cavity. It can cause inflammation or swelling in the gums. It also makes flossing and brushing more difficult, which will make it even worse.
Calculus build-up also doesn’t have a very pleasant appeal. Due to the absorptive properties, Calculus causes staining especially when you consume any caffeinated drinks. If not treated carefully, it can lead to more serious problems like Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
3. How to identify Calculus Bridge or Tartar?
Have you noticed that you’ve been trying to hide a smile? If you have Calculus build-up, it becomes quite obvious. Calculus has a brownish or yellowish colour and can be seen deposited clearly between your gum line and teeth. It can make your gums appear swollen and cause it to bleed easily.
Usually, tartar formation occurs on the interior surface of the lower incisors or on the exterior of the upper molars. It occurs commonly in these areas due to the proximity to the salivary glands. If these areas feel rough and appear discoloured, it could most probably be calculus. However, a visit to the dentist would be the best option to know for sure, and how to go about it. Neglect of Tartar can lead to more serious problems.
4. Tips to control Calculus Build-up
- The best option is to nip it in the bud; which means, maintaining proper oral hygiene and brushing at least twice a day thoroughly, without missing any area and thus not allowing it to become an area for breeding bacteria.
- Don’t forget to floss. Flossing is the best way to prevent the initial build-up of Plaque in-between your teeth. If there is no Plaque, there is no chance of Tartar.
- A dental pick is also a great option to scrap out any slight build-up of tartar.
- Another great tip is to use an electric toothbrush rather than a conventional one. They help to clean your teeth better and more efficiently and thus reduces the chance of Calculus.
- Using mouthwash to rinse your mouth will help to get rid of the bacteria and helps prevent Plaque which further leads to Calculus.
- Using a Calculus control toothpaste that contains triclosan and fluoride helps kill the bacteria and takes care of the damage done to the teeth enamel. Toothpaste with zinc citrate is also said to have properties that prevent plaque and calculus.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and clean-ups done in order to clean every nook and corner, where the toothbrush cannot reach easily.
- Watch what you eat. Eating sugary and carbohydrate dense food makes it easier for bacteria to multiply faster and thus leads to plaque and calculus. So prevent over-indulging in such food.
- Caffeinated and carbonated drinks, and tobacco are one of the major cause of tartar. So stay away from them as much as possible.
- Rinse your mouth after every meal is also a good practice to avoid plaque and tartar.
5. How to remove Calculus from Teeth?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. However, if you haven’t been very successful in preventing calculus formation, there’s still nothing to worry about. The best option would be to go see your dentist, since the tartar build-up is usually very hard. Your dentist will make use of a process called scaling, to remove the plaque from your teeth.
Your dentist might use curettes and scalers to remove calculus. He might also make use of dental irrigation and ultrasonic vibration in the process of cleaning. This dental procedure of removing calculus is known as ‘full mouth debridement’.
Generally, the removal of calculus takes only a small amount of time. However, in some cases where the build-up is extreme, it might take more than one sitting. The procedure of calculus removal is usually not painful. To save all this hassle, the best approach would be to pay a regular visit to your dentist.
Once the Calculus is removed, your mouth will feel much fresher and a drastic decrease in bad breath. Calculus removal will lower the chances of further build-up and thus provides safety from developing other severe gum and teeth problems.
6. Natural ways to prevent and remove Calculus
Though the safest and easiest way to get calculus removed is by visiting a dentist, there are also a number of natural remedies that help in the prevention and removal of calculus. Here are a few:
Baking Soda: Using baking soda, is one of the most popular and efficient ways of removing calculus naturally. All you have to do is wet your toothbrush and dip it in baking soda and gently scrub on an area of calculus build-up. Baking Soda can be used together with salt or toothpaste, which makes it even more effective.
Baking soda is available in almost every kitchen, and so becomes a quick option for a home remedy for tartar problem. Just make sure you do not use too much baking soda as it can damage the enamel.
Vinegar: Vinegar is also another natural ingredient that can help prevent and reduce tartar and is easily accessible. I bet it won’t taste pleasant, but it is very effective. The Acetic Acid present in vinegar helps in reducing the mineralization that is developed due to calculus build-up.
All you have to do is dilute 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a glass of water and use it as a mouthwash couple of times a day.
Oil Pulling: Oil Pulling or Oil Swishing is also a very efficient way to avoid calculus. Swishing the oil in your mouth for a few minutes helps cleanse your mouth. Coconut Oil especially is rich in antioxidants and helps reduce inflammation. It prevents tooth decay, and since coconut oil has antibacterial properties, it gets rid of the bacteria in your mouth. It also helps retain the teeth enamel, thus making your teeth less prone to plaque and calculus.
The Process of oil pulling is quite simple. Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for a few minutes. Once you are done swishing, spit it out. Oil pulling can be done using other oils too, like olive oil or almond oil. However, using virgin coconut oil is the most popular method.
Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera has gained popularity in recent years for its versatility. Aloe Vera contains antibacterial properties that prevent bad breath and the formation of plaque or calculus. It is very easily available these days. If you cannot find fresh Aloe Vera you can also buy store bought Aloe Vera Gel.
Scoop out the Aloe Vera Gel from the Aloe leaf and massage it gently on the calculus affected area. Leave it in for a few minutes and rinse. Doing this regularly helps reduce and control tartar.
Cloves: Cloves have been used for dental remedies and care for ages. So spice up your life with clove to get rid of conditions like bad breath, plaque and calculus. Clove naturally has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that wash out the germs present in your mouth and thus reduces the chances of dental issues.
You could either use Crushed cloves or clove powder long with olive or coconut oil. Mix a teaspoon of cloves powder with a little oil, make a paste and apply it on the affected area between your gums and teeth. Leave it in for a few minutes and then rinse.
The Final Word:
When it comes to Oral Health, it is always a good idea to maintain regular dental care and hygiene. By doing so, you will be able to avoid the pain of going through possible dental issues. A regular visit to your dentist will prevent serious teeth and gum related problems. In case you come across calculus, the best and the easiest way to tackle it is a visit to the dentist. When it comes to oral care, Brush and Floss are your two best buddies.