Experience has shown that tartar or dental calculus represents a big problem for many of our patients. Calculus is in fact “calcified plaque”, which is formed by the bacteria in the oral cavity, the presence of organic matter (food debris) and the mineral salts (calcium, phosphates, fluoride salts) in our saliva.
There are two types of dental calculus: subgingival calculus (under the gingiva) and supragingival calculus (above the gingiva). Subgingival calculus is invisible to the naked eye, but it exists nonetheless and has a permanent destructive effect on the parodontium.
Performing improper brushing (horizontal, scrubbing movements) we push plaque from our teeth under our gingiva, creating ideal conditions for decaying bacteria: an oxygen-poor environment, protection against the neutralizing effect of saliva and even a breeding ground through plaque. This is decomposed by the bacteria, creating an acidic environment, and under these conditions it is possible for mineral salts to be deposited in this organic matter network. And so is the dental calculus formed! The salts harden this network, which is why it is called calculus.
Dental calculus is like a coral reef, it tends to grow once the foundations are formed. A vicious circle is created, our gingiva becomes inflamed because of the acids. This inflammation initially appears as swelling (an acute process) and the gingiva is bleeding, but later, when the process becomes chronic, it results in gingival atrophy and recession. The bone cannot defend itself for long against these aggressive processes, and consequently it is destroyed as well under the gingiva, and if we continue to leave our dental calculus unremoved, the consequences are drastic, our teeth become loose and we may even lose them.
In order to avoid this, brush your teeth properly 2-3 times a day after meals, and if you notice gingival bleeding, see your dentist!
Dental calculus is mainly formed on the tongue side of our lower frontal teeth, where it is most difficult to brush and where the canals of the salivary glands open, so this area is always soaked in saliva, creating an oxygen-free environment.
But some people are more prone to dental calculus formation, with tartar forming on almost all tooth surfaces and quickly re-forming after removal. In their case especially, but not only, professional calculus removal and the use of special dental care instruments is a strict obligation every three months.