Just Say No to Tartar

shirtless man holding dental floss and smiling In Pound Ridge we’re not very far from some pretty famous coastline and some pretty famous fishing grounds. While it may be frowned upon at a restaurant in Manhattan, many people like their fish with a little tartar sauce.

While Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng may question if that’s a suitable culinary decision for fresh cod, they’re really not concerned about that kind of tartar.

They’re concerned about the type that has accumulated on your teeth, dental tartar. Removing tartar is one of the main jobs when we see you every six months for your professional cleaning and exam.

But what is this stuff anyway?

What Is Tartar?

Tartar doesn’t begin as tartar; it starts out as plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. Every day you brush it away only to have it re-form the next day. Plaque is easy to remove with some attentive brushing and flossing. That should be the end of it, but when you skip some brushings or do a lackadaisical job, then the problems begin.

Calcium builds in plaque left to its own devices, and this makes plaque transform into tartar. Even with attentive home hygiene, most of us have spots (particularly on the inside of our lower from teeth) where tartar builds. This is mostly due to the saliva that is always present in those spots.

Tartar provides much of the impetus for wanting to see you every six months for your cleanings. This is about the time it takes for tartar to start to build up in your usual spots.

Once tartar has formed and locked onto your teeth, you can’t get it off at home. You need a dental pick to remove it. Leaving tartar on your teeth is inviting gum disease. This happens when tartar builds and begins to push under the edges of your gums. This starts to irritate the gums (gingivitis) and things go downhill from there.

We break tartar from your teeth with a dental pick. This process is called scaling. Often, a pick creates pressure that makes the tartar come off as a single piece. Or we may do some back and forth scraping.

So, let’s leave the tartar in the spice rack (Cream of Tartar) or the condiment shelf, and keep it off your teeth. Is it time for your next cleaning at Pound Ridge? Call us at (914) 764-3540 to schedule your appointment.


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