Plaque and Tartar: What are the signs and how to remove them

Black Plaque: What It Is and Why You Should Be Concerned


Imagine meeting your crush for the first time or attending that important business meeting; everything is going smooth until you show your smile, and black tartar peeps out from it. Black plaque or tartar, also known as calculus, is a black substance on the teeth surface that does not go away without professional assistance. Black tartar is very harmful as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria, making it difficult to brush or floss, and lead to many teeth and gum diseases. But what exactly is black tartar? Let’s find out.

How is black tartar formed?

Nobody wants a stained smile. But having tartar on the teeth can give you exactly that. Due to improper brushing and flossing, bacteria can build up along the gumline and create plaque, a colourless, soft coating on the teeth surface. A proper oral hygiene routine can get rid of it easily. However, if it’s left untreated for prolonged periods, plaque can harden and turn black, which cannot be removed by simply brushing or flossing.

What causes black tartar on teeth?

Usually, poor oral care hygiene is blamed for the formation of black tartar on the teeth surface. If the tartar forms below the gum line or turns black, it hints towards inadequate brushing and flossing. But those aren’t the only reasons. Here are some other factors that can contribute to the formation of black tartar on the teeth - smoking; consuming ‘staining’ foods and beverages such as coffee, wine, or tea; damage or breakdown of the enamel; and a diet that is loaded with sugar and starch.

What are the signs of black tartar?

If you want to know some tell-tale signs of tartar, then don’t look too far. Here are some of the symptoms that hint at the formation of black tartar on teeth:

  • Halitosis or bad breath

  • Loose tooth

  • Dark-coloured staining on the surface of the teeth

  • Hard deposits on the teeth

  • Swollen, inflamed, or bleeding gums

How to remove black tartar?

Tartar removal is not something you can do on your own. If you want to get rid of black tartar, the best thing to do is visit your dentist. He or she will initiate a teeth cleaning process to help you remove it. The cleaning process includes scaling or root planning, where the black plaque on teeth is removed or scraped off from above and below the gum line.

You’re probably wondering - “Is there anything I can do to prevent it?” Yes, you can. Prevention is always better than cure and we’re here to help you. Since tartar buildup usually occurs because of inadequate brushing or flossing, here are some tips you can follow to take care of the same:

  • Brush twice a day: This is essential if you want to prevent the build-up of black plaque on teeth. Brush twice daily and use soft-bristled toothbrushes such as the Oral-B electric toothbrush. If you are prone to tooth decay or excessive plaque formation, then it is advisable to brush after every meal. Use a tartar-control toothpaste that contains fluoride, to prevent decay.

brush to remove black tartar
  • Floss well: Flossing, twice a day after brushing, will help remove all the hidden plaque and tiny leftover food particles that can later cause decay and tartar. Use plain, waxed floss strips that can slide easily between the teeth without causing damage.

  • Avoid tobacco products: Tobacco products are an absolute no-no if you want to prevent black tartar. Products such as cigarettes, pipes, and the like can ‘stain’ teeth and lead to tartar buildup on the surface or along the gum line. The same goes for consuming beverages such as tea, coffee, or wine.

  • Visit the dentist: Visit the dentist periodically, preferably every six months. With regular teeth cleaning and guidance, a dental care expert can help you prevent tartar as well as other teeth and gum diseases.

So, this is what you can do to prevent black tartar on the teeth. It is very important to maintain a proper oral care hygiene routine and visit the dentist periodically. It is also crucial to use superior dental products such as the Oral-B electric toothbrushes to effectively remove plaque and prevent it from hardening into black tartar.