Dental plaque is not only unsightly but unhealthy. Unfortunately, dental plaque is also something that everyone has to deal with. Fortunately, dental plaque is something that can be controlled and removed. Plaque is a naturally, continually developing film of bacteria that can build up with poor dental hygiene. In the absence of proper dental hygiene, plaque starts to harden after a day or so and turns into tartar, a hardened form of dental plaque after about a week. While plaque is relatively easy to remove, tartar is far more difficult and normal brushing is usually not enough. Dental plaque and tartar can lead to many health problems down the road including cavities, gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. This is why properly flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day is so important. If you are like most people though sometimes your dental hygiene is not the best and plaque and tartar will start to build up.

Many people believe that the only effective way to remove dental plaque and tartar is to go to a dentist, but this is simply not true. In fact, it is quite possible to remove dental plaque and tartar at home safely, effectively, and relatively easily.

Dental Plaque and Tartar Controlling Toothpaste

Toothpaste by itself is not going to be very effective at removing tartar, but you do not want any more to build up. Toothpaste that contains polyphosphate or pyrophosphate has been proven to prevent tartar from forming. Something else to consider is temporarily using a more abrasive toothpaste. An easy homemade option is to mix a small amount of baking soda with water to form a paste. An added bonus of using baking soda as a toothpaste is that it has whitening properties.

Plaque and Tartar Removing Mouthwash Products

There are a variety of oral rinses that are formulated to loosen and dissolve plaque and tartar. They work by softening up the dental plaque and tartar so that it is weak enough to be removed with normal brushing. Two popular options are from Plax and Periogen. Plax offers a pre-brushing rinse used to fight plaque that has been clinically tested. Periogen’s Oral Rinse is used for tartar removal. It comes in a powder form that you mix with water. An oral irrigator can also be used with Periogen to treat tartar below the gum line. Neither options are an overnight process, but they both are effective with continued use.

Plax Advanced Pre-Brushing Dental Rinse, Soft Mint, 24 Ounce
Amazon Price: $10.00 $5.16 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 18, 2013)

Removing Tartar at Home with Dental Tools

While dental picks and scrapers are available to consumers and they are by far the quickest and most effective option for removing tartar at home, if used incorrectly they can also cause serious damage. If you are going to use dental tools at home it is vital that you have a good understanding of how they should be used. High quality metal tools can be very sharp so it is critical that you are very careful. Alternatively, plastic and rubber tipped tools are available and safer, but they do not work as well. The key to using dental tools is to work very slowly and gently while focusing on small sections at a time. You should pull tools away from the gum line to avoid injury. However, this is not a recommended option. Infection and other serious injuries are a very real possibility if you are not a trained dental professional.

Dental Tartar Scraper and Remover Set, SS
Amazon Price: $43.95 $34.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 18, 2013)

Going to the Dentist

Ultimately, going to the dentist regularly is recommended for optimal dental health. Good dental hygiene including properly flossing, brushing, and using dental products can prevent and remove plaque and tartar, but this is not a substitute for regular dental cleanings and examinations by professionals. Being scared of going to the dentist is not a valid excuse for not going. If you have any dental problems you should get them fixed immediately before they progress further and become more serious.