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In spite of the fact that you take good care of your teeth, you will still have bacteria in your mouth that mix with food particles and proteins to form dental plaque. In fact, each time you eat, the aforementioned bacteria create acids that are harmful for the enamel and that can cause inflammation and infections of the gums. Improper oral hygiene practices will ultimately lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Tartar and your teeth

When the plaque hardens – a process that can take as little as one day – it transforms into tartar. Because tartar can’t be removed via brushing and flossing, it means that your only option is to visit the dentist’s office. Tartar formations along the gum line are the most problematic, as the bacteria irritates and damages this soft tissue. If ignored, this leads to progressing gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. In addition, take note that several studies have linked gum disease with serious heart problems.

What can you do about it?

In case you’re concern about your oral health, then your best bet against tartar entails doing the following:

• Brush your teeth at least two times per day using a toothbrush with soft bristles and of appropriate size, so it fits well in your mouth. The brushing should last at least 2 minutes, and don’t forget to pay special attention to your molars and hard-to-reach surfaces;

• Because tartar can’t be removed via normal brushing motions, you should consider using an electrical toothbrush for this purpose. Irrespective of which electrical toothbrush you select, make sure that it has been approved by the Australian Dental Association. The seal of approval in this case entails that the tool has undergone rigorous safety and quality control tests;

• It could be useful to use toothpaste that contains fluoride and is designed for tartar-control. Even though the toothpaste might not be able to eliminate the already existing tartar formations, at least it can prevent plaque from hardening. In addition, the fluoride can help repair potential enamel damage. On a side note, some dentists recommend toothpaste that contains triclosan, a substance known to combat the plaque bacteria;

• Regardless of whether you’re brushing your teeth correctly, remember that flossing is equally important for your oral health. Flossing helps remove plaque stuck between the teeth and prevents tartar from developing in the hard-to-reach places;

• If you’re a smoker, then this would be a good time to kick the habit. Numerous studies show a link between cigarettes and tobacco products, and tartar;

• Because the bacteria in your mouth thrive on starchy and sugary foods, you should pay more attention to your diet. Scary as it may sound, keep in mind that each time you eat, you are also feeding the bacteria cultures in your mouth. Therefore, consider reducing the amount of sweets.

Besides brushing and flossing two times per day, don’t forget to pay a visit to the dentist’s office once every 6 months, at the very least. A dentist can spot and remove plaque as well as tartar from hard-to-reach areas in your mouth and hence, prevent further dental problems.