Dental Calculus

What is tartar?

Tartar is plaque that settles and hardens on the surface of the teeth. In medical terms, this dental problem is called dental calculus.

Plaque is a thin, sticky layer consisting of bacteria, dirt, and food debris. Plaque takes about 12 days to mature and harden to become coral.

However, the rate of coral formation in each person differs depending on the pH level of the saliva. Tartar in the mouth of people with a high saliva pH (above 7) may form more quickly.

Who cannot ignore this condition? Coral that is not removed immediately can cause receding teeth, cavities, and gum disease. However, who cannot eliminate this condition only by brushing your teeth regularly?

Removing the coral that appears around the gum line can only be done through the scaling method.

What are the signs and symptoms of tartar?

Tartar on teeth usually forms below and above the gum line. When touched with the tongue, tartar tends to be rough.

At first, dental plaque is yellowish-white or brownish-white. Over time, dental plaque that was previously yellow can turn a grayish color.

Over time, the grayish plaque will look like a rock that sticks to the teeth. The darker the coral’s color, the more accumulated plaque.

The appearance of coral at the gum line does not cause bothersome symptoms. But if allowed to continue, coral can trigger gingivitis, aka inflammation of the gums.

Gingivitis can further make you experience many symptoms such as:

  • loose teeth,
  • swollen gums, redness, and tenderness to the touch,
  • intense and sharp pain,
  • gums bleed easily when you brush or floss,
  • gums blackish red, up to
  • bad breath that is severe and tends to last a long time.

There may be other signs and symptoms not listed above.

If you have concerns about specific symptoms, it is best to see a doctor. Only a dentist can recognize and determine how severe your oral problems are.

What causes tartar?

The leading cause of tartar is the appearance of plaque. A plaque is a sticky layer that sticks to the surface of the teeth.

Plaque can form from food debris, dirt, and bacteria that are allowed to continue to accumulate and settle on the surface of the teeth. When plaque is left for a long time, it will harden. This hardened plaque is called tartar.

The tartar that accumulates on the teeth over time will affect the health of the gums. Your gums become easily inflamed and irritated. The result is gingivitis, aka inflammation of the gums.

When things get worse, coral can cause gum disease (periodontitis).

What are the complications that can arise from tartar?

Not a few people consider the problem of tartar trivial and not dangerous. Tartar is the origin of other dental problems.

Plaque that hardens at the gum line and isn’t removed can cause inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis. Rash that gets worse makes the gums bleed easily. It can even cause sudden bleeding.

Untreated gingivitis will also progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition when the inflammation has spread to the bone that supports the teeth.

In conditions of inflammation in this section, the teeth will shake and can fall out on their own.

According to the Journal of Dentomaxillofacial Radiology, Pathology, and Surgery, persistent periodontitis is associated with anemia. That’s why handling tartar becomes vital to prevent the spread of the disease outside the teeth.

Research from the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology concluded that bacteria in tartar that enter the gums and erode the supporting tissue of the body could spread to other organs, such as the heart. In addition, another problem that can arise is bad breath (halitosis).

Bad breath due to tartar occurs because plaque mixes with food residue that is not brushed clean when brushing teeth. As a result, there is decay in the oral cavity.

Discolored teeth are also often a dental problem due to tartar not being cleaned properly. Tooth discoloration is usually caused by consuming foods and drinks that can change colors, such as tea and coffee.

Smoking habits can also cause teeth to change color.

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