Tartar is a substance that forms when dental plaque builds up in your mouth and hardens,
leaving you with a crusty coating over the surface of your teeth.
When tartar continues to build up over time without being removed, it can lead to a range of oral
health issues, including more serious conditions such as advanced gum disease.
Luckily, tartar can be kept at bay by practicing good oral hygiene and keeping up with your
regular dental check-ups, which include a professional clean to remove any unwanted tartar and
keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy.
What is tartar?
Tartar - also known as calculus - is a build-up of plaque and minerals contained in your saliva
which harden. Tartar is a bit like a crusty blanket that covers your teeth, coating the surface and
spreading to below the gumline.
As well as becoming stained by food and drink, tartar and plaque can both cause serious oral
health issues, so it’s important to understand how to prevent them from building up.
How does tartar damage my teeth?
Tartar and plaque can both create unwanted consequences for your teeth and gums, causing
issues such as:
● Bad breath from bacteria build-up
● Erosion of the protective enamel on the surface of teeth, which can lead to tooth
sensitivity, cavities, and even tooth loss
● Gum disease resulting from tartar-induced irritation and inflammation
Early-stage gum disease - known as gingivitis - can cause swollen, bleeding and tender gums. If
left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more serious form of gum disease called
Periodontitis can cause symptoms including pain when chewing, loose teeth, gums that
separate from teeth, and pus collecting between teeth. What’s more, the bacteria that causes
periodontitis can sometimes enter the bloodstream, leading to a risk of heart and lung disease.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible
so they can assess the situation and advise on the best course of action. Many National Dental Care practices have in-house periodontists who can help you put together a treatment plan to
ensure your gum health can be restored and maintained into the future.
How can I prevent tartar build-up?
In order to avoid tartar build-up, you need to prevent the plaque that causes it from developing
in the first place, as plaque can harden into tartar in just a few hours.
Here are a few tips for stopping tartar in its tracks:
● Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time.
● If possible, use an electric toothbrush which will do the hard work with less effort on your
● Avoid using a brush that’s too hard - instead, opt for a soft-bristled brush to minimise
● Get into all areas of your teeth and gums, including the corners, gaps between teeth,
and the area where the teeth meet the gumline.
● Floss your teeth once a day to remove debris.
Removing tartar with a professional dental clean
Booking in for a dental check up and clean at your local National Dental Carepractice is the
best way to remove tartar build-up and keep it at bay.
As part of your clean, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove tartar that has accumulated on
your teeth. If you have a lot of tartar that has caused gum disease, your dentist may recommend
a deep clean that involves scaling and root planing.
In the absence of any oral health concerns, we recommend you book in for a dental check-up
and clean once every six months.
Need to book in for your six-monthly check-up and clean? Contact the friendly team at your
local National Dental Care or DB Dental practice - you can book online today.