Most of us equate calculus to an advanced level of mathematics that makes the brain hurt. But in the dental world, calculus is another name for tartar, which is a hardened plaque that can cause a lot of harm to your oral health.
Pre-Calculus, Or Plaque
Dental calculus starts out as plaque, which is a collection of bacteria located on the surface of teeth. This sticky, colorless film processes sugars in order to produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel, decaying it. However, plaque is easily removed through routine brushing and flossing.
Advanced Calculus, Or Tartar
If plaque is not regularly cleaned from the surface of teeth, then it calcifies into calculus. This hard substance cannot be removed with a toothbrush, only a dental professional can scale it away from your teeth. Calculus provides a sticky surface for more plaque bacteria to collect and harden. It is also very porous, so it easily absorbs stains from coffee, tea, and tobacco.
Both calculus and plaque can harm to your gum tissue when they grow under the gum line. They cause irritation to the gum tissue which results in an inflammatory infection called periodontal disease. This condition starts out with redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums, and it can eventually advance into tooth and bone loss.
Solving The Equation
Calculus causes a lot of harm for your dental health, but you can prevent its development by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing between them at least once a day. It is also important to maintain a healthy diet, avoiding the sugary, starchy foods that feed plaque bacteria. Calculus may still develop on the surface of your teeth, which is why regular dental check-ups are so important. Call our office today if you want to learn more about dental calculus and how to prevent it.