Kitchener Dentist Files: "Why do I get so much tartar on my bottom teeth?"

Dr. Kyle Hornby

"Why do I get so much tartar on my bottom teeth?". Tartar drives patients nuts because it makes their teeth feel rough and it can cause inflammation and bleeding gums. As a Kitchener Dentist, I get a lot of questions about how to best control tartar. So, first, let's discuss what tartar is and its composition.

Kitchener Dentist Files: Tartar and its Main Ingredients

Tartar is simply calcified or hardened plaque. Plaque is made up for dissolved food residue. Calcium and phosphate in your saliva then soaks into plaque and hardens it. This tartar also contains bacteria which can fuel gum inflammation.

While you can brush plaque off of your teeth, you cannot do the same with tartar. When you have a professional dental cleaning at your Dentist's office, the Dental Hygienist uses tools designed to remove that tartar. This allows your gums to heal.

Kitchener Dentist Files: Why does tartar build up heavily on bottom front teeth?

People can build really thick block of tartar on their lower front teeth but very little elsewhere in the mouth. So, what's the deal? Well, you have lots of salivary output ducts under your tongue and the calcium and phosphate that mineralizes tartar comes from saliva. So, that pool of saliva under your tongue is constantly bathing plaque around the gumlines of your lower front teeth. This is why you build up tartar far more quickly at these sites compared to other area in the mouth!

Kitchener Dentist Files: How can you minimize tartar buildup?

If you take away a key ingredient in tartar formation you'll really slow its accumulation. It's tough to remove plaque as it accumulates because that would involve brushing and flossing after every instance of food intake. That's just plain hard to do! But we can focus on more realistic goals that will help minimize tartar in a big way. If you fail to brush thoroughly before bedtime, you are leaving plaque on your teeth for an 8-10 hour mineralizing cycle. Also, the plaque will cover areas of tooth enamel and prevent salivary minerals from diffusing into your teeth. This will impede mineralization and strengthening of your teeth as you sleep. You'd certainly rather strengthen your teeth than mineralize your plaque to form tartar!

So, make sure you brush for 2-3 minutes before bed. And, focus on the gum lines with a soft, light-pressure technique. The reason? Most tartar builds around the gum lines.

Lastly, you may choose to add brushing and flossing after lunch to your routine. This will also help to decrease daily plaque accumulation and eventual tartar formation!

Thanks for reading today!

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

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This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.

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