Nobody enjoys having calcium deposits on their teeth. They are unsightly and can often lead to a host of gum and teeth-related health problems. Luckily, there are several ways to get them off your teeth. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the calcium deposits and the different methods available to remove calcium deposits.
What Are Calcium Deposits (Tartar)?
In order to prevent calcium deposits from forming, it is important to first understand the causes behind their formation and how to avoid it. Also known as tartar or calculus, calcium deposits are a buildup of hardened calcium phosphate on the enamel.
To protect and restore the enamel, the body is constantly supplying saliva with calcium and phosphate, the two main minerals that make up the enamel. However, when plaque absorbs the minerals and other substances in the mouth, it forms a hard, yellowish calcium deposit on the enamel. This is akin to the painting of a slab of wall. When too much paint (plaque) is left on the wall (enamel), lumps will inevitably form.
If left untreated, these calcium deposits can lead to periodontal diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis, and tooth decay.
How to Remove Calcium Deposits?
Calcium deposits are often the result of poor oral hygiene — improper or irregular brushing of the teeth. Once formed, they cannot be removed by brushing. Instead, only a dentist with the necessary tools are able to remove the hardened deposits. This is done through a procedure known as scaling.
During scaling, a metal dental scaler or an ultrasonic scaler is used to remove the deposits on the teeth. While the former uses a hook to scrape away the plaque, the latter uses vibrational energy to dislodge and remove the calcium deposits from the teeth. Scaling is often followed by polishing, a procedure which removes any remnants of plaque or tartar on the teeth while making it smooth and shiny.
Apart from scaling and polishing, air abrasion is another dental procedure used to remove tartar. Air abrasion work by using pressurized air to blast a stream of particles — silica, aluminium oxide, or baking soda — towards the tooth, removing any calcium deposits and stains that have build up on the tooth surface. Over the years, air abrasion has become a popular alternative to scaling as it generates minimal noise, making it the ideal procedure for young children.
Over the years, several natural remedies touting to remove tartar have sprung up. This include the brushing of teeth with baking soda, the gargling of a vinegar and salt water mixture, and oil pulling with coconut oil. While these remedies may help to remove stains and soften the calcium deposits, their effectiveness in removing tartar is minimal.
What Should I Do To Prevent Calcium Deposits?
The removal of calcium deposits can be an expensive and tedious procedure as it requires a visit to your dental clinic. As such, The best thing to do is to prevent the formation of calcium deposits, and here are a few things you can do to achieve it:
- Brush your teeth twice a day and for two minutes. Make sure you apply the right technique and are thorough in your brushing.
- Use an electric brush. Various studies have concluded that electric brushes are more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes. This is due to the vibrating or rotating bristles which allow for more micro-movements and a more effective cleaning of the teeth.
- Use a mouthwash. Ingredients present in most big brand mouthwash work well to kill bacteria that causes plaque, reducing the risk of a plaque buildup.
- Floss your teeth. Flossing helps to remove plaque and food that cannot be removed by brushing or are in areas that the toothbrush can’t clean.
- Visit your dentist every three to six months. In spite of regular brushing and flossing, plaque may still linger in certain areas of your teeth. Regular visits to the clinic help to spot and remove these hidden plaque while keeping you updated on the health of your teeth.
In conclusion, there are several ways to remove calcium deposits from teeth. However, the best way to prevent them from forming in the first place is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and visit your dentist regularly. Now you know. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.