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Black Tartar On Teeth

Do you have a black substance on your teeth that brushing or flossing won't remove? It's likely black tartar, also called calculus. Tartar can harbour germs, make teeth and gum cleaning difficult, lead to gum problems, and trigger other more severe oral health issues. Fortunately, a dental professional can remove black tartar and help you get your oral health back on track.

Find out what black tartar is, how a dental professional removes it, and what you can do to prevent tartar build-up in the future to keep your smile bright!

What is Black Tartar?

When germs build up around the gumline, they create a layer of plaque – a soft, sticky, colourless film that can be removed by brushing and flossing. Untreated plaque can harden and turn into calculus, which requires professional cleaning to be removed. Tartar turns black as a result of being stained. This black discolouration could be caused by:

  • Inflamed gums
  • Dark beverages
  • Smoking
  • How long tartar has been on your teeth

Tartar makes practising good oral hygiene more complicated and can provide more places for germs to hide, often leading to more severe oral health issues.

What Complications Can Arise?

Plaque and tartar both cause gum problems. According to the Journal of Dental Research, nearly half of adults over 30 in the US (47.1 percent) have some form of gum problems. Left untreated, gum problems can develop into periodontitis, which is found in 5-20% of middle-aged adults, according to the South African Dental Association (SADA). This more severe form of gum disease can cause your teeth to loosen or even fall out.

How To Remove Black Tartar From Your Teeth

If you have tartar build-up on your teeth, a dental professional can help with a procedure called scaling and root planing. They will use manual tools (like stainless steel scrapers) and ultrasonic vibrations to remove tartar from your teeth and gums. They can also smooth out your teeth's roots to ensure your gums reattach after the procedure. Depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, scaling and root planing can require one or more visits to remove all tartar effectively.

When it comes to using sharp objects near sensitive gum tissue, it's best to leave the job to the professionals – so resist the temptation to buy a plaque scraper from your local grocery or drug store. The SADA confirms that oral hygienists are university-trained professionals who work very closely with dentists by providing education in oral health care. They know how to safely and effectively use dental scalers and other tools to treat you in the best way possible.

How To Prevent Black Tartar

Practising good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent tartar from collecting on and between your teeth. Some care tips:

  • Brush twice a day. If regular brushing is already a part of your routine, double-check that you're using the right technique. Use a tartar control toothpaste that's designed to remove as much plaque as possible.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day. Use a water flosser or interdental brush to get between your teeth and under your gumline to remove irritants like germs and food debris, and help reduce inflammation.
  • Add a mouthrinse for extra protection. An over-the-counter mouthrinse will help protect against germs in your mouth. Ask a dental professional for their recommendation.

See your dental professional for regular appointments – they can identify any developing conditions early for treatment and remove plaque before it turns into tartar.

While black tartar on your teeth isn't something to celebrate, it isn't difficult to get rid of, either. If you think you already have tartar build-up on your teeth, contact your dental professional right away. They can do what's necessary to get your oral health back to a condition you can smile about.