Just about every toothpaste advertisement you can think of talks about “preventing the build-up of tartar,” so chances are you have probably heard of it. But, do you really know what tartar is? If you did, the statistics of tooth decay and tooth loss in the United States would probably be a lot less! It’s just ironic that in a country obsessed with personal hygiene and germs, few people take the full measures necessary to keep their teeth and gums in good condition. So, in this article, the Chicago implant dentist will be helping us to understand just what tartar is and why it poses such a serious risk to our oral health.
A Look at Our Teeth Under the Microscope
Our mouths are simply teeming with bacteria. The good news is that the vast majority of these bacteria are perfectly harmless and even essential to our good oral health! However, without regular and thorough brushing and flossing, these microorganisms can gain the upper hand in your mouth, leading to all sorts of nasty problems including bad breath, tooth decay and, ultimately, tooth loss.
Bacteria might only be visible individually under the microscope, but they accumulate in such masses on your teeth that you can see it with the unaided eye! Dental plaque is a soft, white, sticky substance that can be scraped off your teeth using your fingernail. What is plaque? It’s bacteria – alive bacteria, dead bacteria and all the wastes they produce. If left alone, plaque hardens to form tartar. This too is visible and it ‘aint pretty!
Look at the picture above. Aside from the fact that the crowns of the teeth appear horribly stained and discolored, there are strange white accumulations or structures at the base of the teeth and between them. This is tartar. The person whom these teeth belong to has clearly neglected the very basics of good oral hygiene by not brushing regularly or thoroughly enough and by not flossing at all. They also haven’t been to see their dentist and oral hygienist in a while.
Why is Tartar Dangerous?
Your gums hate plaque and tartar. More specifically, your gums hate bacteria. This is why people who don’t look after their teeth properly have gums that are inflamed and swollen. This condition, known as gingivitis, is also linked with bad breath, which is actually caused by the smell of bacteria’s sulfurous byproducts. Gross, isn’t it? If left without intervention and without an improvement of oral hygiene, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, or gum disease, which is a very serious ailment.
Gum disease is linked with a whole host of other very serious and even potentially fatal health issues, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney ailments, respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and oral cancer. When you consider just how much bacteria it must take to build visible structures of tartar (as we saw in the picture above), you can understand just how an unhealthy mouth can make you sick! Every day, people with gum disease breath in and swallow harmful bacteria!
Advice from the Chicago Implant Dentist on Prevention
Brushing two to three times a day and flossing daily helps to remove deposits of plaque from the teeth and gums, effectively preventing it from becoming tartar. Regular appointments with the dentist and oral hygienist are also essential in the prevention of oral disease. While it’s very easy to skip the occasional brush, the implant dentist in Chicago – who treats patients daily for their lifelong oral sins – urges us all to remember that negligence is accumulative and the consequences could be far worse than a smile that is unappealing for your friends and family to look at!