Keeping your teeth clean until your next visit to the dental hygienist can seem like a daunting task. After all, each time you ingest a food or drink, plaque is forming in your mouth, and if the plaque is not removed quickly enough, it can harden into ugly, yellow tartar.
Tartar can only be removed safely by a specialized dental tool in a dental office.Thus, once it forms, you are unable to remove it until your next dental appointment. Here are a few things that you can do to keep tartar at bay:
Use a tartar-control toothpaste.
Although a tartar-control toothpaste is unable to remove tartar buildup that has already formed, it is a great preventive measure. The paste may contain sodium pyrophosphate, which binds with calcium phosphate that forms from dissolved calcium in the mouth.
Calcium phosphate is the hard component of tartar that binds to the tooth enamel and must be periodically scraped away by your hygienist. The calcium that helps to form the compound is dissolved from the tooth enamel as it is exposed to bacterial acid. Once the calcium phosphate forms, it is not dissolvable in water. Thus, after it binds to a tooth surface, it cannot simply be rinsed away.
Tartar control tooth paste that includes sodium pyrophosphate binds with the calcium phosphate that is not attached to the teeth to form a dissolvable substance that can be rinsed away.
Chew gum between meals and snacks.
By chewing gum between meals and snacks, you are able to remove food particles that help plaque to develop. Dental plaque is a combination of oral bacteria and particles of leftover food. As you chew gum, the sticky substance attaches to the edible debris in your mouth and pulls it from the teeth, so it can be swallowed.
Some of the food particles are also rinsed away by saliva, which is presented in greater quantities as the act of chewing stimulates the salivary glands.
Along with food, the other primary component of tartar is oral bacteria. Some gum includes antimicrobial ingredients, such as xylitol, which help prevent oral bacteria from sticking to the teeth. In addition, additives, such as cinnamon flavoring, help kill oral microbes.
Since plaque is a precursor for tartar, preventing its development halts the development of tartar.
To learn more ways to prevent tartar buildup and make your dental cleanings easier, consult with a local dental hygienist.