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Plaque and tartar on teeth

Your dentist or hygienist should show you the correct way to brush and floss.  General steps for preventing and removing tartar or plaque on your teeth include:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a brush that is not too large for your mouth. Choose a brush that has soft, rounded bristles. The brush should let you reach every surface in your mouth easily, and the toothpaste should not be abrasive.
  • Electric toothbrushes have been shown to clean teeth better than manual ones.
  • Floss gently at least once a day. This is important to prevent gum disease.
  • See your dentist or oral hygienist at least every 6 months for a thorough teeth cleaning and oral exam. Some people that have periodontal disease may require more frequent cleanings.
  • Solutions you put in your mouth to identify areas of tartar build up may be helpful.

Well-balanced meals are also recommended for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Alternative Names

Tartar and plaque on teeth; Calculus

References

Jones R, Baustian GH, Pearson RL, et al. Gingivitis. First Consult. Elsevier. March 23, 2011.

Update Date: 2/25/2014

Updated by: Ilona Fotek, DMD, MS, Palm Beach Prosthodontics Dental Associates, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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