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What is tartar cleaning? How is it done?

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Tartar cleaning is an important part of oral health care. This procedure, performed by dentists, cleans hardened plaque accumulated on the tooth surfaces. Over time, brushing and flossing may become insufficient. In this case, professional intervention is essential. If tartar is not removed, it can lead to serious problems such as gum disease. Therefore, regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential to prevent these complications.

Things to Know About Tartar Cleaning

Tartar is hardened dental plaque that forms above and below the gum line. Plaque accumulates in everyone’s mouth over time. If this plaque is not regularly cleaned, it turns into tartar. Tartar formation is due to insufficient attention to oral hygiene. Additionally, genetic factors can also affect the rate of tartar formation. This hard structure seen on the teeth cannot be cleaned with a toothbrush or floss. However, it can be removed by dentists using special tools.

Points to consider during the tartar cleaning process:

If tartar is not cleaned in time, it can lead to gum disease and other oral health problems such as:

  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss

The Chemical Composition of Tartar

Tartar has significant effects on oral health. The basis of this structure consists of residues of dead bacterial cells. These residues combine with minerals found in saliva over time and harden. The mineralization process accumulates layer by layer on the tooth surface. The main components of these accumulations are:

  • Calcium phosphate
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Magnesium phosphate

These components play a key role in the formation of tartar’s hard and sticky structure. The accumulation of these minerals results in structures that cling tightly to the tooth surfaces and gum line.

Symptoms of Tartar on Teeth

Tartar manifests itself through visible changes in the mouth. Yellow, brown, or black discolorations appear on the tooth surfaces. These stains are due to mineral deposits on the tooth surfaces. This condition is known as halitosis and is an indication of the presence of tartar. In addition, there are noticeable inflammations in the gums:

  • The gums appear red and swollen
  • They are sensitive
  • Bleeding often occurs

These symptoms indicate the formation of hard, crust-like layers on the teeth. These layers can damage the structure of the teeth over time.

The Relationship Between Tartar and Bad Breath

Tartar can cause halitosis (unpleasant mouth odor). It usually accumulates between the teeth and gums. The bacteria and food residues that accumulate in these areas:

  • Trigger bad breath.
  • Leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Especially the small pockets between the teeth and gums can become a breeding ground for bacteria. If tartar is not cleaned, it can negatively affect your oral health and cause a constant bad breath problem.

Factors Contributing to Tartar Formation

There are certain conditions that increase the formation of tartar. First of all, a person should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Otherwise, food residues and bacteria that accumulate on the tooth surfaces accelerate the formation of plaque. If teeth are not cleaned regularly, these plaques harden over time and turn into tartar.

  • Excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks is another risk factor for tartar formation. Especially carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread and pasta stimulate the formation of plaque on the teeth.
  • Smoking or using tobacco products reduces blood circulation in the gums, which hinders healthy oral hygiene.
  • Braces allow food residues and bacteria to easily accumulate on the tooth surfaces.

Health Problems Caused by Tartar Formation

Not cleaning tartar can have serious consequences for oral and dental health. The hard layer that accumulates on the teeth provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Therefore, issues such as gum disease become inevitable. Here are the main health problems caused by tartar accumulation:

  • Gingivitis: Redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums can occur.
  • Gum recession: The roots of the teeth become exposed, and the gums recede.
  • Cavities: Cavities occur on and between the tooth surfaces.
  • It can lead to general health problems.

Such problems can lead to tooth loss and broader oral health issues.

Tartar Treatment Methods

Tartar is safely removed by dentists using special tools. Since tartar accumulation cannot be cleaned by itself, professional help is necessary. During tartar cleaning, special tools are used to carefully remove the tartar from the tooth surfaces. This ensures that the teeth are cleaned without damage. In addition, your dentist may recommend various treatment methods depending on the intensity of the tartar:

  • Teeth cleaning: Deep cleaning of tartar and plaque on the tooth surfaces.
  • Gum disease treatments: Cleaning of tartar around the gums and improving gum health.

Both methods are crucial to protect your oral health and keep your teeth free from diseases.

The Process of Tartar Cleaning

Tartar cleaning is the process of removing hardened plaque from the tooth surfaces. Dentists use special tools during this process. These tools are used to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. Additionally, floss is used to clean the spaces between the teeth. Finally, the teeth are polished with a special cap and toothpaste, aiming to make the teeth cleaner and healthier. These cleanings, recommended every six months, are of great importance for maintaining dental health.

  • Cleaning the teeth: Plaque and tartar are removed with special tools.
  • Use of floss: The spaces between the teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
  • Polishing process: The tooth surfaces are polished with a special cap and toothpaste.
  • Removal of supragingival stains using an Airflow device.


This routine helps prevent oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease.

Treatment Methods for Gum Disease

If tartar is not treated, it can cause serious damage to the gums. Your dentist may recommend various treatment methods to stop the progression of gum disease. These treatments are particularly aimed at cleaning tartar accumulated in areas unreachable by a toothbrush and floss. First, scaling and root planing are performed by the dentist. This process smooths the tooth surfaces.

  • Scaling and root planing: Smoothing the tooth surfaces.
  • Osseous surgery: Reduces the depth of gum pockets.
  • Laser periodontal therapy: Uses laser energy to kill bacteria under the gums.

Each treatment method is applied to protect gum health and prevent further complications.

Methods to Prevent Tartar Formation

Preventing tartar formation is one of the basic ways to protect oral health. Regular dental care helps avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Effective methods to prevent tartar formation include:

  • Brush your teeth two to three times a day with fluoride toothpaste and a medium-bristle toothbrush. This reduces plaque formation and supports dental health.
  • Floss daily. This cleans the food residues and plaque between the teeth. Two options are provided:
    • Traditional floss
    • Small interdental brushes (if there is gum recession)
  • Rinse twice a day with an antibacterial mouthwash (usually alcohol-based. Use the alcohol-free variant if pregnant). This kills harmful bacteria in the mouth and prevents plaque accumulation.
  • Tobacco products increase tartar formation; therefore, avoid smoking and tobacco products.
  • It is important to see your dentist regularly. Biannual check-ups and, if necessary, professional cleanings serve as a preventive measure when home care is insufficient.

What Problems Can Arise If Tartar Is Not Cleaned?

If tartar is not cleaned, various health problems can occur in the teeth and gums. First of all, tartar will erode the enamel, making the teeth more sensitive. This condition also paves the way for cavities. Additionally;

  • Causes swelling and bleeding of the gums
  • Leads to problems such as bad breath, which negatively affects social life
  • Causes a stained and unattractive appearance of the teeth

Such health problems directly affect the quality of a person’s daily life.

Frequency of Visits for Tartar Cleaning

Each individual’s oral health status is different, and this determines the frequency of tartar cleaning. Some people accumulate plaque and tartar faster than others. This condition is usually associated with a person’s genetic makeup and lifestyle. For most people, the standard recommendation is to see a dentist every six months. However, the following situations should be considered:

  • People at high risk of tooth decay
  • People prone to gum disease

These individuals should schedule more frequent dental visits. The dentist will recommend a maintenance program based on personal oral health.

Plaque and Tartar: Basic Differences

Dental plaque is a yellowish, sticky film produced by bacteria in your mouth by feeding on sugars from food. It accumulates on the tooth surface and can be cleaned with regular brushing and flossing. Tartar, on the other hand, is the hardened form of dental plaque and has a more permanent structure. Initially, tartar is yellow in color, but over time it darkens and forms a hard layer on the teeth. Unlike dental plaque, tartar cannot be removed with home oral hygiene methods. It can only be removed by a dentist using special tools. These basic differences between plaque and tartar emphasize the importance of oral care.

  • Dental plaque: can be removed with regular cleaning.
  • Tartar: can only be removed with professional cleaning.

Why Does Tartar Break Off the Tooth?

In some cases, tartar can break off the tooth. This usually occurs for the following reasons:

  • The pressure exerted while chewing food,
  • Excessive hard brushing.

The breaking of tartar causes rough and sharp areas on the tooth surface. In such a situation, it may be tempting to try to remove the tartar yourself. However, this can damage both the teeth and gums. These rough areas on the tooth surface can lead to more bacterial accumulation and harm oral health. If you notice that tartar has broken off from your tooth, the safest way to correct the situation is to consult a dentist. The dentist can safely and effectively remove the remaining tartar.

Causes of Black Tartar on Teeth

Black tartar is deposits that appear on the tooth surfaces and change color. This color change occurs due to the influence of certain substances on dental plaque. Especially;

  • Smoking or using tobacco products
  • Excessive consumption of tea and coffee
  • Colorful drinks like red wine

contribute to this condition. These substances darken the color of dental plaque, leading to the formation of black tartar. Tartar that accumulates below the gum line can take on a darker color when mixed with blood. This is especially observed in individuals experiencing gum bleeding. These black stains on the teeth indicate not only an aesthetic problem but also potential health issues.