Tartar is the hard calcified material that builds up on teeth. It is formed mainly from minerals in saliva mixed with the bacteria of dental plaque. It may lie above or below the gum. It can only be removed by a dental professional. It can form anywhere on the teeth but is most common where saliva enters the mouth, on the outer surface of the upper molar teeth and the inner surfaces of the lower front teeth. Almost everybody has some degree of calculus present on their teeth.
It irritates the gum and acts as a surface for plaque buildup. If present for a long time it can be a factor in periodontitis. It is unsightly and can be a cause of bad breath.
The buildup of calculus can be prevented by good oral hygiene and professional cleaning. Once calculus has formed no amount of home care will remove it. It is bound too strongly to the tooth surface. Ultrasonic scalers and hand scalers are used.
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