What Is Tartar?
Put simply; tartar is hardened plaque. You know plaque is that sticky film of bacteria that constantly coats your teeth. It feeds on the sugars in your food and produces acids that can harm your enamel and cause tooth decay and gum disease. If the plaque is not removed, it eventually absorbs calcium and phosphates in your saliva and hardens into tartar, also known as dental calculus.
Why Do You Need Tartar Control?
Tartar appears as rough, yellowish deposits along the gumline, which might cause you to raise a cosmetic complaint or two. However — more importantly — tartar can form both above and below the gumline as well as between your teeth. This puts you at risk of periodontal disease.
In the earliest stages of periodontal disease, the tartar causes some mild gum irritation, such as inflamed, red, or bleeding gums. If addressed early, the gum disease can be reversed with treatment from your dental professional and proper oral care. If tartar is not removed, the infection can spread to the tissue and bone that support your teeth, leading to periodontal pockets, bone loss, and — eventually — tooth loss. Fortunately, you have access to all the tools you need to remove plaque, fight tartar and keep your smile happy and healthy.