Tartar, also called calculus, is a crusty deposit that can trap stains on the teeth and cause discoloration. Calcium and phosphate bind to form crystals on the teeth. These calcium phosphate crystals eventually harden within plaque, forming calculus. Certain types of chemicals called pyrophosphates help to decrease calculus buildup by stopping the growth of crystals on the tooth surface and preventing new crystals from forming. Tartar creates a strong bond that can only be removed by a dental professional. Its formation may also make it more difficult to remove new plaque bacteria, thus potentially creating problems further down the road.
Dental Hygiene for Prevention
Plaque and tartar do not affect everyone in the same way; individuals vary greatly in their susceptibility and resistance. For many of us, these deposits build up faster as we age, meaning the older you get, the more closely you have to monitor your dental hygiene routine. There are, however, several ways in which you can alter your dental hygiene practices to help protect your teeth from the buildup of plaque and tartar.
Having your teeth cleaned professionally every six months, or more frequently as recommended by your dentist or hygienist
Brushing with a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphate, such as Crest® Tartar Protection, which adheres to the tooth surface and inhibits the formation or growth of calculus crystals
Brushing with Crest® Pro-Health or Crest® Vivid White, which contain sodium hexametaphosphate, a pyrophosphate specially formulated to not only inhibit calculus, but also loosen and break the bonds of extrinsic stains for powerful whitening and a protective barrier to prevent future stains