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What is Tartar? 6 Tips to Control Buildup

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Tips to Help Control Tartar

Your best bet is not to let tartar form on your teeth. Here's how:

  • Brush regularly, twice a day for 2 minutes a time. A 30-second scrub twice a day won’t remove plaque or prevent tartar. Use a brush with soft bristles that is small enough to fit into your mouth. Be sure to include the hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and on your rear molars.
  • Studies have found that electronic, or powered, toothbrushes may get rid of plaque better than manual models. No matter which type you use, be sure it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. These have undergone rigorous quality control and safety tests.
  • Choose tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride. It can help prevent plaque from hardening into tartar. Plus, the fluoride will help repair enamel damage. Some products have a substance called triclosan that fights the bacteria in plaque.
  • Floss, floss, floss. No matter how good you are with a toothbrush, dental floss is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep tartar out of these hard-to-reach areas.
  • Watch your diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugary and starchy foods. When they’re exposed to those foods, they release harmful acids. Try to eat a healthy diet and limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. That goes for snacks, too. Every time you eat, you also feed the bacteria in your mouth. You don't have to give up sweets or between-meals munches. Just be mindful about how often you indulge. Brush and drink plenty of water during and after meals.
  • Don't smoke. Studies show that people who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products are more likely to have tartar.

Once tartar has formed, only a dental professional will be able to remove it from your teeth. So, visit your dentist every 6 months to remove any plaque and tartar that might have formed and to prevent further problems.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on October 26, 2014
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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