Prevent Tartar Buildup And Cavities

Healthy_teethYou may know that brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day are considered by dentists to be the bare minimum in terms of the frequency of those habits for maintaining healthy teeth. But the reason why practicing those habits, plus showing up for your regularly scheduled dental appointments, are so crucial is because they all help reduce the tartar buildup on your teeth and reduce the chance you’ll get a cavity due to tooth decay.

What is Plaque? What is Tartar?

  • Plaque is the number one enemy of healthy teeth. It is the thin layer of bacteria that forms in your mouth after you eat or drink. Plaque (also known as biofilm) adheres to the surfaces of your teeth, and can cause trouble in areas that are hard to clean, including teeth in the back of your mouth and between your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque secrete acids that damage tooth enamel.
  • Tartar is what plaque becomes if it is not removed from your teeth as soon as possible. Plaque hardens on to your teeth and, as tartar, is impossible to remove without professional dental cleaning tools. Tartar often appears as a yellowish or yellow-brown stain on your teeth and contributes to the development of cavities and gum disease. It is also known as dental calculus.

 How to Prevent Tartar Buildup

As destructive as tartar buildup can be to your mouth, preventing it is fairly simple.

  • Brush and floss daily as recommended by your dentist.
  • Visit your dentist as directed for cleanings. Research shows that there can be a great deal of individual variation in the rate of tartar formation, so take your dental professional’s advice on how often to schedule appointments.
  • Watch what you eat. Firm-crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots and cucumbers act as “nature’s toothbrushes” and can help scrub plaque off of your teeth. Avoiding sugary drinks and foods made with simple carbohydrates also can reduce the rate at which plaque is formed.

“It helps to know about plaque and tartar and their role in tooth and gum disease,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix. “It becomes much easier to understand why maintaining good oral habits lead to healthy teeth!”

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