Dental Tartar (Calculus) – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Approximately 68% of adults suffer from dental calculus, also known as tartar. Those who suffer from dental tartar have hard, penetrating deposits that build up on their teeth and gums. When plaque is not regularly removed, such as by brushing and flossing, it becomes tartar within 24 to 72 hours. Cavities, gum disease, and bad breath can result from inadequate brushing and flossing due to tartar buildup. As tartar is tightly bonded to the tooth enamel, it can only be removed by a Eugene Kids Dentist.

Dental Tartar


It doesn’t matter how well you care for your teeth, bacteria still mix with starchy or sugary food when you eat. This results in dental plaque, which is a sticky film that coats your teeth, gums, and dental restorations. Plaque contains bacteria that produce acids that erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. If plaque is not routinely removed, it will turn into tartar. It is only possible to remove tartar with specialized dental tools if it is left untreated, since tartar is extremely porous and rough.

Plaque occurs to everyone, but you are at higher risk if you have the following factors:

  • Consuming sugary foods (cakes, sweets, etc.)
  • Taking in a lot of carbohydrates (e.g. bread, pasta, potato chips, etc.)
  • Taking certain medications or not drinking enough water can cause dry mouth
  • Chew tobacco or Smoke

It is impossible to completely avoid plaque, but you can prevent it from building up by brushing and flossing regularly.



Keeping your mouth healthy is the best way to prevent tartar. The following steps can be taken to accomplish this:

  • Make sure you floss every day and brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each
  • Electric toothbrush bristles should be changed every three months
  • Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste
  • You should visit your dentist every six months for regular examinations and cleanings
  • Consuming as little sugar and starch as possible and eating a nutritious, balanced diet
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco should be avoided



As tartar adheres firmly to tooth enamel, it must be removed by a dental professional. By professional cleaning, debridement, or scaling and root planing, it is possible to achieve this.

The American Dental Association recommends getting a routine cleaning every six months if you do not have dense deposits, bone loss, or periodontal disease. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use a scaler during your regular dental checkup and cleaning to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from your gum line and between your teeth.

A debridement is recommended for patients with dense calculus on their teeth that prevents the dentist from performing a thorough oral examination. Both hand tools and ultrasonic equipment can be used to break up and remove tartar.

If you have gum disease or pockets between your teeth and gums, you may need scaling and root planing. Plaque and tartar are removed from above and below the gumline, all the way to the bottom of the pocket, under local anesthesia. After the teeth roots are rounded off, your gums will heal and reattach to your teeth.

In order to avoid a future bigger, more expensive problem, it’s important to take care of your teeth now.

Are you suffering from dental tartar? We can be reached at 541-688-7278 or you can request an appointment online.

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