Plaque is a soft, clear or yellow film of bacteria. It may mineralize into calcium phosphate (in other words, it may harden), entrapping minerals, microbes, food particles, and other debris. When this happens, plaque turns into the much rougher and more darkly-colored, tartar. Tartar is initially yellow, but if left untreated, it can turn green, brown, or even black.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about black tartar!
The Science Behind Black Tartar
Much research has been done about tartar buildup. Studies have found that black tartar is a specific type of tartar composed of an insoluble ferric salt, most likely ferric sulfide, which is formed by the interaction between hydrogen sulfide produced by bacteria and iron in the saliva.
Upon microscopic examination of black tartar, scientists determined that there is actually reduced microbial diversity (or a decrease in the variety and abundance of different microorganisms) in black tartar. Some bacterial genera are abnormally abundant, specifically, Actinomyces, Cardiobacterium, Haemophilus, Corynebacterium, Tannerella, and Treponema, while some are abnormally sparse, like Campylobacter. This imbalance, or as scientists call it, this dysbiosis, is a possible contributing factor to the formation of black tartar.
How Common Is Black Tartar On Teeth?
If you are suffering from black tartar buildup, you are not alone. While scientists have yet to reach a final consensus regarding the exact prevalence of black tartar on teeth, most research says that as much as 20% of the population, or 1 in 5 people, face this predicament. Men and women are affected equally. However, black tartar is more common among children.
Black Tartar and Oral Health
Is black tartar on teeth a cause for concern? Unfortunately, the answer is YES.
The main periodontal diseases, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (inflammation of the soft tissue and bone responsible for keeping our teeth firmly anchored) have been associated with the accumulation of tartar.
Moreover, although this is rarer than the development of periodontal diseases, those with black tartar buildup may also face wider health implications. Specifically, individuals with high disease susceptibility and poor oral health are at risk of certain system diseases like bacteremia and infective endocarditis. This occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream, in the case of tartar buildup, the bacteria enter from wounds in the mouth and then attach to a damaged portion of the inner lining of the heart or abnormal heart valves. They may also be at risk for cancer of the oral epithelium, or cancer of the cells of the oral cavity.
3 Ways To Prevent Black Tartar On Teeth
Here are three scientifically proven ways to prevent black tartar on teeth.
A Good Oral Hygiene Routine
To prevent black tartar on teeth, you should master the basics. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and don’t forget to brush your tongue as well. Floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash once daily. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also invest in an oscillating-rotating toothbrush. This is a type of electric toothbrush that through dual action, allows for the effective sweeping and cleaning of the teeth from multiple angles.
However, you need to remember to avoid intensely over-scrubbing when brushing. This won’t remove any black stains on your teeth, and may even cause abrasion cavities
Frequent Visits To The Dentist
Don’t only go to the dentist when it’s too late! On average, it is best to set an appointment for a check-up and cleaning every six months. However, if you’re prone to cavities, gum disease, or other oral health problems, you may need to go more frequently. And yes, even if you have a good oral hygiene routine, visits to the dentist are still essential!
A Balanced Diet
Lastly, to prevent black tartar on teeth, watch what you eat. The regular consumption of particular vegetables, dairy products, and fruits high in iron may lead to tartar buildup. Remember, black tartar is formed by the interaction between hydrogen sulfide produced by bacteria and iron in the saliva. Examples of food to eat in moderation are legumes, tofu, spinach and other leafy greens, quinoa, fortified breakfast cereals, certain seeds (ex. pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.), and dried fruits like raisins, apricots, and prunes. Even consuming water with high iron content may lead to black tartar!
2 Steps To Remove Black Tartar on Teeth
Removing black tartar on your teeth isn’t easy, but it’s possible! Follow these two steps and your teeth will be pearly white in no time!
STEP 1: Dental Prophylaxis
The first thing you have to do is this: visit your dentist. Black tartar is almost impossible to remove with just a toothbrush and toothpaste, and even if you manage to do that, it just grows back. What you need is dental prophylaxis, or teeth cleaning.
Dental prophylaxis is very different from regularly maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. First, the dentist uses a small mirror to assess the state of your teeth and gums. Following that, with the small mirror to guide them, the dental professional uses a scaler to get rid of plaque and tartar around your gum line, as well as in between your teeth. After that, your teeth are brushed with a high-powered electric brush that also removes any left-behind tartar. For this step, instead of regular toothpaste, gritty toothpaste that gently scrubs your teeth is used. The dentist then expertly flosses your teeth, and after you rinse out your mouth, you’re all done!
STEP 2: Teeth Whitening
While a cleaning session with your dentist can remove tartar from your teeth, it does nothing to actually whiten them. If you really want a brighter and shinier smile, proceed to step two: professional teeth whitening! For this, there’s no other place to go except The Smile Bar! The Smile Bar uses state-of-the-art technology and safe, effective whitening techniques to ensure remarkable results. Not convinced? Read more about them and see testimonials from their satisfied customers!
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