What is Tartar?

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tartarYou’ve probably heard your dentist mention tartar.  You might use tartar control toothpaste.  Tartar is clearly bad news, but what is it?

The bacteria that live on your mouth secrete acid that burns holes in your teeth.  The bacteria, the acid, the food you eat and other stuff turn into a sticky goop called plaque.  Brushing properly sweeps plaque off your teeth, but if you don’t brush, that plaque will harden into a yellowish crust called tartar.

Once the tartar is on your teeth, it’s very hard to knock off.  Brushing alone won’t get all of it.  You’ll need to spend some time in a kids dentist office where a professional can gently brush, scrape, and polish it off.

How long does it take plaque to harden into tartar? Only 26 hours. This is why it’s important to brush every day. You should floss as well, because tartar can form between your teeth where your brush can’t reach.

It’s also important to brush along the gum line where tartar can build up which is very irritating to them. They might grow red, puffy, and start to bleed if that happens.

Luckily, tartar is easy to fight.  Brush twice a day, floss and see your dentist regularly and the tartar won’t wreak havoc on your teeth.


  1. […] to be done every day. Keep in mind that it only takes 24 hours for plaque to start hardening into tartar. If you let it get hard enough, nothing short of your dentist’s tools will get it off your […]

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