Learn how to clean tartar with our simple tips.

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Learn how to clean tartar with our simple tips.

Learn how to clean tartar with our simple tips.

Are you struggling with tartar build-up on your teeth? Not only can it lead to bad breath, but it can also contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.

But don't worry, we're here to help! In this article, we'll provide you with simple tips and tricks for removing tartar and keeping your teeth healthy and sparkling.

What is tartar and how does it form?

Tartar is a hard, yellow or brownish mineral deposit that forms on the teeth and gums due to the accumulation of plaque over time. Plaque is a soft, sticky biofilm of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth, and if left to accumulate, it hardens and becomes tartar through a process called mineralization. Tartar buildup can also occur below the gumline, leading to gum disease and tooth decay.

The accumulation of plaque and the subsequent formation of tartar can be caused by several factors, including poor oral hygiene, consuming sugary and starchy foods and beverages, smoking, and certain medications that reduce saliva flow.

"Tartar is one of the most common dental problems that people face today. It can only be removed through professional cleaning or by using specialized tools and techniques."

What is plaque and how does it lead to tartar formation?

Plaque is a biofilm of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. When we consume food and beverages, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars and starches in the food to produce acids that can erode tooth enamel and irritate the gums. Over time, if left untreated, the bacteria in plaque can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and the formation of tartar. This is why it's essential to brush and floss teeth regularly to prevent plaque buildup and reduce the risk of tartar formation.

The Dangers of Tartar Build-Up

Tartar build-up is not just an unsightly issue, it can also be harmful to your oral health in several ways. One of the primary dangers of tartar build-up is gum disease. When tartar collects near the gum line, it can lead to inflammation and irritation of the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding.

Over time, the bacteria in tartar can also cause tooth decay, leading to cavities and even tooth loss. Additionally, the foul-smelling bacteria can cause bad breath, which can be embarrassing and socially isolating.

"Tartar build-up is not just an aesthetic issue, it can also lead to serious oral health problems if left untreated."

To prevent these problems, it's important to take steps to remove tartar regularly and maintain good oral hygiene habits.

Tools for cleaning tartar

There are a variety of tools available for cleaning tartar, including dental picks, scalers, toothbrushes, and floss. It's important to find the right tool for you and to use them correctly to avoid damaging your teeth or gums.

Dental pick: A dental pick is a metal tool with a curved end that is used to remove tartar from hard-to-reach areas. To use it, gently scrape the tartar away from the tooth surface. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or use the pick too aggressively, as this can damage your teeth or gums.

Scaler: A scaler is a tool that is used to remove large deposits of tartar from the surface of your teeth. This tool should only be used by a dental professional as it requires a certain level of skill and expertise to use safely.

Toothbrush: Your toothbrush is an essential tool in the fight against tartar. Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles and use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Brush twice a day for two minutes each time, using circular motions to clean all surfaces of your teeth.

Floss: Flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to preventing tartar build-up. Use a piece of floss about 18 inches long and wrap it around your fingers, gently guiding it between each tooth in a sawing motion. Be sure to floss at least once a day.

Remember to be gentle when using any of these tools and to follow proper technique to avoid causing damage to your teeth or gums.

Brushing for Tartar Removal

Brushing your teeth is the foundation of good oral hygiene. To remove tartar effectively, you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently brush your teeth in circular motions. In addition to brushing your teeth, don't forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

To ensure that you're brushing properly, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use gentle pressure. Don't forget to brush all sides of your teeth - front, back, and chewing surfaces - as well as the inside surfaces of your front teeth.

  1. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use gentle pressure.
  4. Brush all sides of your teeth and the inside surfaces of your front teeth.
  5. Don't forget to brush your tongue.
Pro Tip: If you find it difficult to brush for two full minutes, try listening to a song or podcast to help pass the time!

Flossing for tartar removal

While brushing is important, it's not always enough to remove all the tartar buildup between teeth. That's where flossing comes in.

Proper technique: Start with a piece of floss about 18 inches long and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Hold the floss tightly and gently guide it between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Curve the floss around each tooth and slide it under the gumline to remove any tartar or plaque buildup.

Frequency: It's recommended to floss at least once a day, preferably before bed, to remove any debris and prevent tartar buildup.

"Flossing is crucial for removing tartar between teeth and preventing gum disease," says Dr. Smith, DDS.

If you find traditional flossing difficult, you can try using a water flosser or interdental brushes to clean between teeth and remove any tartar buildup.

Using a dental pick for tartar removal.

If you have particularly stubborn tartar, you may want to consider using a dental pick to help remove it. However, it's important to use this tool correctly to avoid damaging your teeth or gums.

Before using a dental pick, it's important to ensure that your hands are clean and that the pick itself is sterile. Begin by positioning the pick at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gently scrape along the gumline to remove any tartar build-up. Be sure to use a light hand and avoid using too much pressure, as this can lead to damage.

If you're not confident in using a dental pick, it's best to leave tartar removal to a dental professional. They have the expertise and experience to safely remove stubborn tartar without causing harm to your teeth or gums.

Scaling for Tartar Removal

Scaling is a dental procedure that involves removing tartar build-up that cannot be removed through regular cleaning techniques, such as brushing and flossing. This is done by using special instruments that scrape the tartar away from the teeth and below the gumline.

It is important to note that scaling should always be performed by a dental professional, such as a dentist or dental hygienist. Attempting to remove tartar at home with the wrong tools or techniques can result in injury, infection, and further damage to your teeth and gums.

During a scaling procedure, your dental professional will also perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth, removing any plaque and food particles that have accumulated. This helps to prevent further tartar build-up and keeps your teeth and gums healthy.

It is recommended that individuals undergo scaling every six months to a year, depending on their oral health needs. Your dental professional can advise you on the frequency that is best for you.

Natural remedies for tartar removal

While regular dental cleanings and proper oral hygiene are the best ways to prevent and remove tartar, there are some natural remedies that can help keep your teeth healthy and sparkling. Here are a few options to consider:

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has natural acids that can help break down plaque and tartar. Simply mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two tablespoons of water and rinse your mouth with the mixture for 30 seconds. Be sure to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards to protect your teeth from the acid.

Baking soda

Baking soda has natural whitening properties and can help remove surface stains and tartar. Create a paste using one tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of water. Apply the paste to your teeth and leave it on for two minutes before rinsing. Be sure not to use baking soda too frequently, as it can be abrasive to tooth enamel.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has natural bleaching properties and can help remove surface stains and tartar. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and swish the mixture around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Be careful not to swallow the mixture and rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards.

While natural remedies can be effective in removing tartar, it's important to remember that they are not a substitute for regular dental cleanings and proper oral hygiene. Always consult with your dentist before trying any new dental health regimen.

Diet and lifestyle changes for tartar prevention

Preventing tartar build-up can be achieved through simple changes in your diet and lifestyle. Here are some tips:

  • Reduce your sugar and starch intake as they contribute to plaque formation.
  • Increase your intake of calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt to promote strong teeth and bones.
  • Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, to help clean your teeth naturally.
  • Quit smoking, as it promotes tartar build-up and stains teeth.
  • Drink plenty of water to help rinse away food particles and reduce the formation of plaque.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production, which can help neutralize acid and prevent plaque formation.

By making these simple changes, you can lower your risk of tartar build-up and promote overall oral health.

Regular dental cleanings

Regular dental cleanings are an important part of maintaining good oral health and preventing tartar build-up. It is recommended that you visit your dental professional at least twice a year for a cleaning and check-up.

During a dental cleaning, your dental professional will remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on your teeth since your last visit. They will also check your teeth and gums for any signs of decay or disease and provide you with advice on how to maintain good oral hygiene at home.

If you have a history of gum disease or are particularly prone to tartar build-up, your dental professional may recommend more frequent cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and clean.

Remember, even if you brush and floss regularly, tartar can still build up on your teeth over time. Regular dental cleanings are a crucial part of preventing tartar build-up and ensuring your teeth and gums stay healthy for years to come.

Dealing with stubborn tartar

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when tartar build-up is particularly stubborn and cannot be removed through regular cleaning techniques. In such cases, it is best to seek professional help.

A dental professional has the tools and expertise needed to remove stubborn tartar safely and effectively. They may use more advanced techniques such as ultrasonic scaling or laser therapy to break down and remove tartar.

It is important to note that attempting to remove stubborn tartar yourself with tools such as dental picks or scalers can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Always consult a dental professional for treatment.

In some cases, a dental professional may recommend a deep cleaning procedure called root planing and scaling. This involves removing tartar from below the gumline to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. It is a more intensive procedure than regular cleaning and may require local anesthesia.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to tartar build-up. Regular brushing and flossing, a healthy diet, and routine dental cleanings can go a long way in preventing stubborn tartar from forming in the first place.


Keeping your teeth free from tartar build-up is crucial for maintaining overall oral health and achieving a sparkling smile. By regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, using the appropriate tools and techniques, and making modifications to your diet and lifestyle, you can prevent the formation of tartar.

It's also important to schedule regular dental cleanings with a professional to remove any tartar that may have accumulated despite your best efforts. If you're having trouble removing stubborn tartar at home, don't hesitate to seek treatment from a dental professional.

By following these tips and maintaining good oral hygiene habits, you can enjoy healthy teeth and a confident smile for years to come.