What is tartar?

Tartar, also called calculus, is plaque that hardens on your teeth. Tartar can also form below and above the gumline and irritate the gum tissues. Tartar can give plaque the surface area and a more sticky surface to grow on, leading to more serious conditions such as cavities and gum disease.

Tartar not only threatens your teeth and gum health, but also poses a cosmetic problem. Since it is porous, it stains very easily. If you have a habit of drinking coffee or tea or are a smoker, it is especially necessary to prevent tartar build-up.

How do I know if tartar has formed?
Unlike plaque, which is a colorless film of bacteria, tartar is a mineral deposit that can be easily seen above the gum line. The most common sign of tartar is a yellow or brown mark on the teeth or gums. The only way to detect and remove tartar is to go to your dentist.

How can I prevent tartar buildup?
In particular, brushing and flossing with a toothpaste that is effective against tartar formation is necessary to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation.

Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by the dentist. Tartar removal process is called detertrage. During scouring, your dentist uses special tools to remove tartar above and below the gumline.