Over the course of the day plaque accumulates on your teeth. Plaque is food debris, mucus from your saliva, and bacteria. If the plaque sits on your teeth for more than 24 hours it will turn into tartar. Tartar is plaque plus calcium from your saliva. Day after day tartar will become thick making the surface of your teeth rough. This rough surface harbors bacteria against your gums. Your body’s immune system can sense these bacteria and will mount a defense against them. In this fight between the bacteria and your immune system chemicals are produced that break down the bone around the teeth. This process is called gum disease and is the leading cause of tooth loss.

Tartar can’t be removed with a manual or electric toothbrush. Your hygienist or dentist utilizes special instruments that remove tartar from your teeth.  After a dental cleaning most people notice that their teeth feel clean for several days. That is because plaque and bacteria have a hard time sticking to your nice clean smooth teeth.