If you’re dealing with tartar on your teeth, then you know it’s an unsightly problem that’s robbing you of your beautiful smile. What you may not know is how you can remove it and prevent it from coming back. With these helpful tips, you’ll be smiling freely in no time, and enjoying the peace of mind of knowing that your teeth are beautiful and tartar free.
What Is Tartar
Ever since your first trip to the dentist, you’ve been told to make sure to brush, floss and rinse to avoid tartar. But, what is tartar exactly? Before we can answer that, we need to answer a different question. What is plaque?
Plaque is an unsightly, thin film that can grow on your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth combines with proteins and leftover food inside your mouth to create a sticky film called plaque.
Plaque can be removed from your teeth quite easily with regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. But, if you aren’t vigilant about your dental hygiene, plaque can quickly turn into tartar, which is a more difficult problem to address.
Tartar (also known as calculus) occurs when the plaque inside your mouth isn’t removed and can harden. Tartar is also known as calculus, and it can form above and below your gum line and lead to more serious dental problems such as gum disease and periodontitis.
How Tartar Affects Your Teeth and Gums
Once tartar attaches itself to your teeth, it makes it more difficult to brush and floss effectively. Tartar can lead to cavities and tooth decay. When tartar develops above your gum line, it leads to even more serious dental problems, like periodontitis.
The Cause of Tartar
Tartar is caused by plaque that stays on the teeth for an extended period. Over time, that thin, sticky film calcifies and hardens into what we know as tartar.
When it comes to plaque, it has a completely natural cause. Everyone develops plaque on their teeth, every day. The key is to make sure you’re removing plaque daily by brushing, flossing, and rinsing before it can turn into tartar.
Signs & Symptoms
There are some signs and symptoms that may indicate a tartar problem. The first of which is bleeding gums. If your gums are noticeably bloody after you’re finished with a normal brushing, that may indicate that you have a tartar problem.
Tooth discoloration is often related to our diet and habits, such as drinking coffee or wine or smoking tobacco products. But, if you notice that your teeth are beginning to discolor and it can’t be attributed to your diet or habits, that may be another indication you have tartar.
Bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth are another symptom that you may be dealing with a more serious dental problem, like tartar buildup.
Finally, if your teeth are becoming loose or falling out entirely, this is another symptom that you may be dealing with a tartar problem. This symptom is the last to present itself, and usually, most people realize they have a tartar problem and seek care before it comes to this point.
Home Remedies for Plaque Removal
You may be wondering why we’re going to discuss home remedies for plaque removal instead of how to remove tartar at home. Unfortunately, that’s because tartar can’t be removed at home. Removing tartar from teeth requires a debriding treatment from a dentist. Now, for the question of how to get rid of plaque.
Fortunately, when it comes to how to remove plaque from teeth, there are plenty of steps you can take at home to limit or remove plaque on teeth outside of basic dental hygiene. These are all quick, easy and natural methods that you can make use of today.
Oil pulling originated in India thousands of years ago as a safe and effective way to clean your mouth, remove toxins and even whiten your teeth. The idea behind oil pulling is that the oil can cut through the plaque, bacteria, and toxins that exist in your mouth. These nasty compounds become trapped in the oil, and then you spit them out when you’re finished.
You can oil pull with any vegetable based oil, but coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil are the most popular. From a taste perspective, coconut oil is probably the best. It has also been suggested that coconut oil is the most effective type for teeth whitening which is an added benefit of oil pulling.
To reap the benefits of oil pulling, just pour 1-2 teaspoons of oil into your mouth, and swish it around like you would with mouthwash. You can continue this process for as long as twenty minutes before spitting the oil out.
When you’re finished, be sure to spit the oil into the garbage can, since oil will harden and contribute to clogged pipes if spit down the drain.
Baking soda has been used for ages to clean the teeth and for a good reason – it’s very effective! Since baking soda is slightly abrasive, it does a great job of removing plaque, bacteria, and other nastiness from your teeth. You can make your own baking soda scrub at home to use on your teeth.
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
Combine the baking soda and salt in a small container. Run your toothbrush under the water and dab your brush into the baking soda and salt mixture. Then, just brush your teeth as you would normally.
Guava is more than just a delicious fruit; it’s also a great way to keep plaque at bay. Both the fruit itself and guava leaves contain compounds which have been shown to reduce plaques ability to adhere to your teeth which make it easier to remove and eliminate.
You can either slowly chew a piece of guava, or chew on guava leaves (then spit them out) to enjoy the benefits of this wonderful fruit.
Name a hygiene or health issue, and there’s a strong chance that you can treat it using aloe vera. Plaque and tartar on teeth are no different. Studies have shown that aloe vera gel can remove plaque and improve oral health in general when used as a “toothpaste.”
You can go for aloe vera gel in a bottle, or you can extract your own straight from fresh aloe vera leaves. Regardless of which method you go for, the process is the same: All you need to do is rub the aloe vera gel directly on your teeth and leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off. Next, brush your teeth as you normally would.
Ground cloves have been used for hundreds of years as a home remedy for tooth pain. They can also be used to remove plaque from your teeth. All you’ll need is:
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- A little bit of olive oil
Slowly add olive oil to your ground cloves while stirring until you’ve achieved a thick, paste-like consistency. Next, apply this mixture directly to your teeth and leave it on for several minutes. Wash your mouth out thoroughly to remove the clove paste, then brush your teeth as you normally would.
This is far from the best tasting method on the list, but it’s very effective, and that’s what’s most important. Let’s look at how we can make our own white vinegar rinse to help eliminate plaque. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 ounces’ water
- 1 ounce white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
Combine these three ingredients thoroughly and use it as mouthwash. Rinse with the vinegar solution for about a minute, then spit it out and brush your teeth as you normally would.
Orange peel is another useful home remedy for eliminating plaque before it can turn into tartar. Teeth, and your mouth in general are populated by microorganisms which can lead to tartar build up. The orange peel helps to remove those microorganisms. Plus, it couldn’t be easier to use, just rub the orange peel directly on your teeth.
Figs are so much more than the filling of a famous cookie; they’re also useful for removing plaque! Chew 3-4 figs at the same time slowly and deliberately. This will help to naturally remove plaque while stimulating your salivary glands which will help wash any bacteria and plaque away from your teeth.
Sesame Seed Scrub
Believe it or not, chewing on some sesame seeds is another way that you can eliminate plaque from your mouth. All you need to do is pop a handful of sesame seeds into your mouth and chew them, but don’t swallow. Once you’ve chewed the seeds, give your teeth a good brushing. The tiny bits of seed act as an abrasive which will help remove plaque from your teeth.
Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash
Hydrogen peroxide has many uses, and it’s also a powerful way to eliminate tartar on teeth. You can make your own hydrogen peroxide mouthwash at home, quickly and easily. You’ll need the following:
- 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide
- 1 tablespoon antiseptic mouthwash
Combine the hydrogen peroxide and mouthwash together by stirring or shaking the mixture. Then, swish it around in your mouth for a minute or more before spitting it out. You’ll begin to feel the oxygen in the peroxide almost immediately as it tingles on your teeth. Once you’re finished, spit it out and brush your teeth as you normally would.
The best way to prevent tartar from becoming a problem is to make sure you’re doing a great job taking care of your teeth. By making sure you’re keeping up with your dental hygiene, you’ll be able to remove plaque before it has the chance to turn into tartar. Let’s take a look at a few extra tips that will help keep you on the right track when it comes to dental hygiene.
The first step is regular brushing. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. If you can, brush after meals and snacks as well. There’s no such thing as too much brushing.
Most oral health professionals agree that the best way to brush your teeth is to think of your mouth as four separate quadrants: the top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right. Focus on one quadrant at a time and spend at least 30 seconds brushing each quadrant. This will help ensure that you’re effectively brushing all your teeth.
Use an Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush can help to maximize your brushing effectiveness. While using a manual toothbrush is still a great way to get your teeth clean, an electric toothbrush can do a more thorough job.
Since the head of an electric toothbrush rotates thousands of times per minute, they’re able to do a much more thorough job of removing plaque from your teeth, especially in hard to reach places like between teeth, at your gum line, and on your molars.
Electric toothbrushes also are usually preprogrammed to beep or vibrate every 30 seconds or so, to let you know you’re finished with that quadrant of your mouth and you can move on to the next section. This helps keep you honest when you’re brushing and makes sure you’re spending enough time brushing each time.
Use Tartar-Control Toothpaste
Tartar-control toothpaste is formulated with gentle abrasives that make it easier to remove plaque from your teeth and gumline. So, using a tartar control toothpaste can make it easier to remove plaque before it becomes a larger problem. Since you’re going to be using toothpaste anyway, you may as well make the switch to a tartar-control option to maximize your brushing effectiveness.
Even the best toothbrush in the world can’t reach all the areas of your teeth as well as plaque can. So, even if you brush your teeth ten times a day for three minutes at a time, you’re still going to be leaving behind some plaque.
The rest can be removed by flossing regularly. Be sure to get in between all your teeth all the way up to the gum line to eliminate plaque more fully. Another great option that’s easy to use is a dental pick. Dental picks are a great way to floss on the go when you don’t have a bathroom and mirror at your disposal.
An antiseptic mouthwash is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to limiting plaque’s ability to grow on your teeth. Antiseptic mouthwash can kill the bacteria in your mouth which is responsible for causing plaque in the first place. Just make sure that the mouthwash you’re using is in fact antiseptic. If it isn’t, it won’t do much to help stop plaque buildup.
Doing your best to adhere to a wholesome diet is a great way to limit plaque buildup on your teeth.
First, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet if possible. Long before humans had toothbrushes, they had fruits and vegetables. The skin on fruits and vegetables is a great natural way to control plaque buildup.
Also, you’ll want to do your best to reduce your intake of sugary or starchy foods. Sugar and carbohydrates tend to stick to teeth, which give the bacteria inside of your mouth a virtual smorgasbord to dine on, which leads to the formation of plaque and ultimately to tartar.
As if you need another reason not to smoke, studies have shown that tobacco users are more likely to suffer from tartar than people who don’t use tobacco.
While they’re most often used for digestive health, probiotics can help remove plaque, as well. In fact, probiotics have a wide range of oral health benefits beyond just removing plaque. They can be found in things like yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir and fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut. There are also dental products available that are fortified with probiotics, like mouthwash for example. Studies have shown that a mouthwash that contains probiotics can reduce the appearance of plaque by as much as 20%.
Probiotics work by targeting the pathogens that exist in our bodies. The probiotics attack pathogens and make it difficult for them to grow, thrive and reproduce by boosting our immune system.
When to See a Dentist
Since tartar removal is impossible at home once it’s on your teeth, you should see a dentist as soon as you begin exhibiting signs so they can dissolve tartar on your teeth for you through a process known as debridement.
Seeing a dentist for regular teeth cleanings is a great way to stay on top of your dental hygiene in general. Most dentists recommend you have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months.
By having your teeth cleaned regularly, your dentist will be able to keep a close eye on whether you’re at risk for developing tartar, and he can eliminate the problem before it becomes more serious.