When the bacteria in plaque meets the minerals in your saliva, dental calculus, more commonly referred to as tartar, can develop. This is something you can prevent from happening by brushing regularly and thoroughly; once tartar has been allowed to develop, it can only be removed by a dentist or oral hygienist since tartar build-up bonds very strongly to the surface of tooth enamel.
Tartar is sometimes visible as a yellow or brown film, which is particularly noticeable in the most confined gaps between your teeth. However, the aesthetic problems are only the tip of the iceberg. Here are just four reason why tartar should be considered a serious problem.
1. Prevents Proper Toothcare
First and foremost, a build-up of tartar makes it a lot harder for people to properly take care of their teeth. You might start brushing regularly and avoiding every piece of sugary food that comes your way – once tartar has formed, you cannot just brush or floss it away. That means that there are parts of your teeth you cannot get to. Those surfaces will be constantly exposed to the bacteria in tartar, and you may find it impossible to floss with tartar build-up in the way.
2. Bad Breath
Bad breath, referred to medically as halitosis, can be an embarrassing and distressing problem, and it's one often caused by a build-up of tartar. Both plaque and tartar contain a lot of bacteria. When tartar forms, bacteria is allowed to thrive, and you won't be able to get rid of the root cause of your bad breath no matter how much you brush or how many sticks of gum you chew.
3. Irritation of the Gums
You might not be able to feel tartar, but that doesn't mean it cannot cause irritation. With hardened plaque formed right around the gum line, it isn't rare for gingivitis (the inflammation of the gums) to occur. As the gums become more irritated and inflamed, they can start to redden, and they will bleed more easily when you brush. You may also find that your gums are receding.
4. Possible Periodontitis
With an excessive amount of tartar on your teeth and the gums receding, it's possible that your gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. This is a serious gum infection that affects the teeth below the gum line. Periodontitis will usually require periodontal work, such as a root canal. In the most serious cases, bacteria or infection can reach the jaw bone, causing both bone and tooth loss.