You’re supposed to make a dental appointment every six months for deep cleaning. The keyword there is supposed.
If you do this regularly, you know the main thing the dentist spends time on is removing tartar buildup and plaque buildup from your teeth. It’s something that’s pretty hard to do on your own at home, but in this blog post, I’m going to make it a little easier.
More than just a bad aesthetic aspect with your teeth not staying their whitest, tartar and plaque can bring on the development of cavities and other painful things you don’t want happening in your mouth or in your body, like heart disease.
Yes, keeping your dental health in check with regular dental visits is that imperative. Professional dental care is the only fully effective way to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.
How do you get Plaque and Tartar?
Plaque is an invisible, bacteria-filled film that forms on teeth, especially where the teeth and gums connect. When it is excessive, a person may have the sensation of having dirty teeth, even though they cannot see any difference.
The bacteria located there is the sugar that comes from food. It changes the pH of the teeth, allowing bacteria to enter and cause cavities. When a person does not floss or brush their teeth, this plaque can increase. When plaque hardens, it leads to tartar.
So, tartar buildup is the accumulation of plaque that has been in contact with saliva for too long and has hardened. When tartar is present, you can see it stuck between the teeth. (It’s not a good look.) When it gets to this point, it will not come off when you brush your teeth or when you floss. There are other problems with this besides appearance.
The Problems with Plaque and Tartar
The most obvious problem with plaque and tartar is that it leads to cavities. This looks like a small hole or dark spot on the tooth. If you don’t get this taken care of by a dentist, it will lead to pain. Eventually, instead of a filling, you may need a root canal… so don’t ignore this!
Gingivitis, a gum disease that causes redness and bleeding at the gum line, is another problem from the buildup of plaque and tartar.
How To Remove Plaque And Tartar From Your Teeth At Home
The best way to combat dental calculus like this is to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing your teeth every morning and every night and flossing your teeth every night.
I should also mention that removing tartar at home should not be common practice. It can be done incorrectly and cause more harm than good. That’s why it’s important to see your dental hygienist at your dentist’s office every six months for a professional cleaning. They will remove the tartar better than you can at home!
Before I get into the alternative methods, I’m going to share some that are proven to work and that dentists approve of… and that will whiten your teeth too because I’m a big fan of that!
Using plaque scrapers at home is the most obvious thing to use. This ultrasonic tooth cleaner helps with tartar removal with three stainless steel heads – a pointed head to clean small stains in the gums and two flat heads for large tartar in the teeth surface. Click here to buy it on Amazon for $27.
Ensure the toothpaste you buy contains fluoride. Use this during your regular brushing in the morning and at night.
An electric toothbrush is also strongly recommended. I use this one by Oral B and love it! Click here to get it on Amazon for just $50.
Use an antiseptic mouthwash when you rinse your mouth daily. This is also a great way to fight bad breath and tooth decay.
Follow the package directions to apply the strips containing a thin layer of a bleaching agent to your teeth. Personally, I hate the way the sticky film feels and they make my tooth enamel super sensitive after a while, but they work! Crest is the most popular brand for whitening strips. Grab these on Amazon for $38.
These pens are perfect for when you’re on the go. You can use this pen to whiten your teeth at any time. This Colgate Optic White Pen is just $25 on Amazon and claims to visibly whiten your teeth in just one week.
Available where dental products are sold, these trays are best used at home by following the package directions. This iSmile teeth whitening kit is a bestseller on Amazon for $48.
Obviously brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash is the best thing to do, but some people want to try some wacky alternatives to good oral hygiene. So, here are some things you can do at home that are easy and gentle. To be sure they will work for you and your teeth, ask your dentist before trying any of the below methods at home.
1. Brush with Baking Soda.
This is perhaps the most popular way used to clean and whiten teeth. In fact, according to some studies, baking soda can help fight tartar, as it can penetrate plaque and raise the pH, which prevents it from being able to solidify.
However, some researchers also argue that if you do this in high doses it will make your teeth more sensitive. Like everything mentioned in this blog post, it would be best if you used this technique only with guidance from your dentist.
- 1 tsp. of baking soda
First, place some toothpaste on a toothbrush. Second, sprinkle it with baking soda, or bicarbonate. Then, brush your teeth and rinse with warm water as you normally would.
This technique can be used two to three times a week for a couple of weeks or as directed by your dentist.
2. Rinse with Coconut Oil.
Another way to eliminate tartar naturally, which has positive results in some studies, is coconut oil. This oil seems to stop a large part of the bacteria present in the mouth, preventing the formation of tartar. But then again, mouth wash also does this and that’s made for your teeth. In addition, when used at least once a day for 30 days, some say it makes teeth whiter.
- 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil
Place the spoon in your mouth and rinse with the oil for a minute or so, one to two times a day. Then, rinse your mouth with water.
Note: Some people also like to rinse with white vinegar as well, so you may want to try that as a substitute.
3. Use an Orange Peel.
Vitamin C from an orange peel is one of the best edible agents for curbing bacterial growth and debris buildup on tooth enamel.
- 1 orange peel
Take a fresh orange peel and rub the white part on your teeth for a few minutes. Repeat this procedure every night before bedtime.
4. Make your own Toothpaste.
Yes, you can make your own toothpaste. Try this.
- 20 drops of mint essential oil
- 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil
- 2 sachets of stevia powder
- 2 Tbsp. of baking soda
Mix all the ingredients in an airtight glass container until you get something that looks and feels like toothpaste.
Regardless of what you do at home, tartar builds so be sure to get a dental cleaning by a dental professional on a regular basis to not only avoid dental plaque and cavities, but other oral problems, like periodontal disease. They have the education, expertise, and special tools to ensure you don’t develop a health or cosmetic problem.
For more from the American Dental Association, click here.