What is tartar and how to prevent it? – Docsalud

Keys to fighting dental calculus (Photo: Pixabay)
Keys to fighting dental calculus (Photo: Pixabay)

Contrary to many popular beliefs, tartar is not a genetic problem and it is not something inevitable, it is something that can be avoided and prevented with good oral hygiene. “Fortunately, the prevention of periodontal disease is something simple and within reach of the entire population. You must have effective control over dental plaque and go to the dentist to avoid the appearance of gingivitis and periodontitis,” says the vice president of the Spanish Society of Periodontics and Osseointegration (SEPA), Dr Paula Matesanz.

The origin of tartar is the remains of food that remain between the teeth, which then form into a white substance between the teeth and the gums which can be removed with the toothbrush. “This substance is likely to calcify over the days, until it organizes itself into hard clusters and adheres strongly to the surface of the teeth, we then speak of ‘tartar’ or ‘tartar'”, adds the specialist. Next, tartar is formed by bacterial plaque, called “dental biofilm”, which then calcifies. The calcification of this substance and the appearance of tartar is the consequence of not removing the plaque deposited on the teeth and gums in time after meals.

Many people believe that tartar appears due to genetic inheritance or the composition of saliva. However, Dr. Matesanz completely denies this and considers it very important to understand that “the only explanation for the presence of tartar in the mouth is the absence of an effective oral hygiene technique”.

Tartar can be identified by direct vision because its color is different from the color of the surface of the tooth on which the tartar adheres. However, it can also be identified by the symptoms it causes, such as bleeding gums. “Bleeding gums are an indication of inflammation, which is part of the patient’s response to the presence of tartar. As a general recommendation, I would say that, whether the presence of tartar is identified, or you notice any signs that may be related to it, go to the dentist so that an adequate diagnosis is made and that it can be eliminated in time. , “advises the dentist.

Bacterial plaque and tartar are the main culprits in the development of periodontal diseases. Periodontal diseases are pathologies that mainly affect the supporting tissues of the teeth, called “periodontium”, due to their location around (peri) the tooth (odonto). “These diseases, which include gingivitis and periodontitis, are widespread inflammatory diseases that can eventually lead to tooth loss. In addition, these diseases are linked to the aggravation and appearance of certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, to name a few examples. On the other hand, they are responsible for frequent consequences in masticatory function and in the aesthetics of the smile.adds the specialist.

In addition, there are other risk factors that can accelerate the formation of periodontal disease, such as tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.

How to remove tartar?

Tartar can only be removed mechanically, there are no drugs or antiseptics that can help with its removal. However, there are treatments in the dental office that allow total elimination, in addition to the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. Depending on the depth at which the tartar is, a prophylaxis or “dental cleaning” can be done, which is done when the tartar is on the gums and teeth to a maximum depth of 2 millimeters. Alternatively, scaling and root planing can be done, which is done when the calculus is located much deeper and needs to be removed under anesthesia. “Both treatments are simple and effective, and a professional will identify, using a periodontal probe, which is indicated in each case”, concludes the dentist.

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