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Tartar: How it comes about and how to get rid of it

Brushing your teeth properly is important. Every child knows this, and yet many people suffer from dental problems like tartar. This can then no longer simply be removed with a toothbrush and mouth rinse, but sits stubbornly on the teeth. We explain what tartar is, how you can get rid of it and, most importantly, how you can easily prevent it from coming about at all.

What is tartar?

In a nutshell, tartar is defined as hardened or calcified dental plaque. The colour of tartar is initially yellowy-white and can turn brown over time. In smokers, the soft plaque can even turn black. Unfortunately, the hardened plaque can no longer be removed through daily tooth cleaning, because the plaque has calcified itself permanently on the tooth.

How is tartar created?

Tartar is created when plaque is not properly removed from teeth and the interdental spaces. With soft plaque, the cause is leftover food, which microorganisms use as a source of food. When there is poor dental hygiene, the bacteria multiply more and more, and a thin film is formed that becomes denser and denser. Sugary foods and drinks, in particular, promote the growth of plaque even more. If this soft plaque remains in one spot for a prolonged period of time, the bacteria combine with minerals such as calcium and phosphate from the saliva. The result: a chemical reaction occurs, and the plaque hardens. 

Tartar is created in particular in places where a lot of saliva leaks out, such as the inside of the lower jaw. 

Is tartar dangerous? The consequences of tartar.


Tartar is not dangerous at first. But it can grow to be, because it significantly increases the risk for other dental diseases. The reason for this is the proliferation of bacteria, because the solid plaque with its rough surface offers the perfect base for those little villains. First of all, new plaque and another layer of tartar can form. But you can also get tooth decay and gum diseases such as periodontitis due to the increasing number of bacteria in the mouth. 

Another disadvantage of tartar is the unpleasant-smelling breath. This does not come from the tartar itself but from the bacteria, which are able to protect themselves well from your toothbrush, due to the rough surface. The bad breath associated with tartar cannot be brushed away so easily.

Removing tartar is important

We have now clarified why it is important to be free of tartar. But what is the best way to remove it? Unfortunately, it does not go away with daily teeth cleaning. Is there still a way to remove it at home though? Or can only a visit to the dentist help?

Removing it yourself: dental scaler, ultrasonic toothbrush, etc.

Removing tartar at home will, of course, save you time, and also stress if you are a nervous patient. It is possible to remove it within your own four walls, but this involves some risks. With a dental scaler, there is a risk of slipping and damaging your gums. So it takes skill and a good deal of courage to potter around in your own mouth with an instrument one hand and a mirror in the other. The stage and location of the tartar also play a decisive role. If the tartar is still in the early stages and in an easily accessible place, it is much easier to remove. In this case, an ultrasonic toothbrush can be a good alternative, because it is much more handy and easier to use than a scaler. In essence, however, one can say that removal at home is not as effective and thorough as a professional teeth cleaning at the dentist. Th latter has the necessary experience and can use other instruments if necessary, such as a scaler, to remove the deep tartar.

Can home remedies remove tartar?

Whether coconut oil, baking soda, lemon or tea tree oil – there are many tips circulating on the net for how to remove tartar with home remedies. However, we have to disappoint you, because none of these home remedies can remove stubborn tartar. Acidic home remedies, such as lemon or vinegar, will attack tartar, but the same then goes for the healthy tooth enamel. Baking soda and tea tree oil do not contain acid, but they can also only prevent new plaque for forming by killing bacteria and preventing them from multiplying. Home remedies are therefore not helpful in removing tartar, which is why you cannot avoid a visit to the dentist.

Regular teeth cleaning at the dentist

A professional tartar removal is uncomplicated, quick and can be had free of charge one time a year. Your dentist is a professional in dental hygiene and will remove the tartar in no time at all without causing pain. It is best to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned during your annual checkup directly. If you need tartar removed in the meantime, your health insurance provider will unfortunately not cover the costs. Nevertheless, it is worth investing in your oral health. We'll let you know how you can prevent tartar so that you don't have to worry about it anymore. 

How you can prevent tartar 

We've got some good news! It's really easy to prevent tartar. Thorough dental care on a daily basis is utterly sufficient. This means you should brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about 2 minutes. Make sure to also brush hard-to-reach areas such as the inner surfaces of the teeth and the back molars. There are special small brushes and dental floss for the interdental spaces. To benefit your oral health, you can also use a tongue cleaner and a mouth rinse.

Home remedies like coconut oil or tea tree oil and a low-sugar diet can also help prevent and reduce bacteria. If you then go to the dentist for your checkup appointment once a year and have your teeth cleaned professionally, tartar in your mouth will no longer have a chance.

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