Dental tartar originates due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque. Is it possible to remove it naturally? Find out in this space.
Is it possible to remove tartar from teeth naturally? Tartar is also known as “tartar” or “dental calculus.” It consists of the hardening of bacterial plaque on the surface of the teeth, almost always due to poor oral hygiene.
This dirt can be seen below the gum line, on the teeth, and in fillings or other dental work. If not removed properly, it can deteriorate enamel and lead to disorders such as cavities.
Since its accumulation is frequent, many people look for solutions to remove it naturally. However, removing it is not so easy. Although there are a wide variety of home remedies that promise to help, the truth is that professional intervention is required. Next, we explain more about it.
What is tooth tartar and why does it occur?
As detailed in an article published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology , dental tartar is a calcified mass that usually forms in areas of the mouth where there is a constant supply of saliva.
To be more exact, it is mineralized dental plaque that forms due to bacterial growth and the accumulation of food residues. This, in general, is constantly removed with a good brushing.
However, if there are no good hygiene habits or if it accumulates excessively, it gives rise to tartar. In most cases, this is seen as a sticky, clay-like film of a whitish-yellow color.
But when they occur sub gingivally, they are not clinically visible and can take on a color that varies from dark brown to green and black. Given its complexity, the intervention of the dentist is essential. Without treatment, they can lead to other dental conditions such as bad breath, gingivitis, and cavities.
Causes of dental tartar
Dental tartar is formed due to a chemical reaction that occurs due to the action of saliva and food residues. It causes the hardening of bacterial plaque, especially when there is not good hygiene.
Sometimes, changes in the pH of saliva affect the formation of these stones. Other factors such as a high consumption of sugars and smoking are also related.
Is it possible to remove tartar from teeth naturally?
Before knowing the most used home remedies to remove tartar from teeth naturally, it is important to make a clarification; There is no natural solution that can remove this calcification.
While the purported benefits of a wide variety of ingredients are described in popular literature, the truth is that there is no evidence of their effectiveness. On the contrary, it has been determined that its long-term use can deteriorate tooth enamel and lead to oral health complications.
So what is the correct way to remove tartar from teeth? When the hard plaque film has already formed, it is necessary to go to the dentist to obtain an effective treatment. At the clinic, the professional will perform a dental cleaning, also called ” tartrectomy ” or “dental prophylaxis”.
In most cases, this procedure is painless and has no complications. However, if there is severe dental sensitivity, the dentist chooses to use anesthesia in the form of a spray. The entire process takes about half an hour and is suggested to be done once or twice a year.
Strategies to remove tartar from teeth naturally
As we have detailed, once it has formed, it is not possible to remove tartar from the teeth, unless you go to the dentist for professional treatment. Despite this, there are several strategies that help control or prevent its formation.
Use an electric toothbrush
Both manual and electric toothbrushes can help remove plaque that builds up between your teeth. However, the latter seem to have an advantage.
However, its effectiveness depends on other factors such as the time of use, the frequency of brushing and the technique. It must be considered that, despite these findings, brushing is usually insufficient to clean interproximal surfaces.
Choosing a fluoride toothpaste
Oral hygiene products play an important role in cleaning the mouth. If it is about removing dental plaque, preventing tartar and cavities, it is best to opt for a toothpaste with fluoride .
As exposed by a study published through Materia Socio Medica , fluoride is a substance that increases the resistance of dental enamel to the action of acids derived from bacterial growth and food residues.
In general, children over the age of three should use a toothpaste with a concentration of 1,350 to 1,500 ppm fluoride. Still, this amount can vary for younger children and adults.
Use dental floss and interdental brushes
The best complement to tooth brushing is the use of dental floss or interdental brushes. These elements are key to removing the plaque that accumulates between the teeth and, in this way, reducing the formation of tartar.
In fact, as detailed in an article published in NIH News in Health , regular use reduces mild gum disease, or gingivitis, better than using a toothbrush alone. Also, in general, it significantly reduces plaque after 1 to 3 months of use.
Now, through Evidence-Based Dentistry it was reported that the use of interdental brushes removes more dental plaque than brushing and flossing. These allow you to clean hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and gums.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash
An investigation through the Cereus Journal of Medical Science reported that antimicrobial mouthwashes play an important role in the prevention of bacterial plaque—the main cause of tartar—by inhibiting the growth, metabolism, and colonization of oral bacteria.
In particular, mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine gluconate were found to be quite effective in reducing plaque buildup. Experts even cataloged it as the “gold standard for plaque control”. In addition, they observed that its effects are enhanced in combination with chitosan.
Maintain regular oral hygiene habits
Beyond using the products mentioned to remove the presence of tartar on the teeth, it is essential to ensure regular hygiene habits . What does this mean? Simple! It is necessary to repeat the brushing at least 2 times a day, although ideally 3 or after each meal.
In addition, brushing should be done for at least 2 or 3 minutes. If it is done between 30 and 45 seconds it will not be enough to remove the plaque and avoid tartar. A study shared through the Journal of Dental Hygiene detailed that brushing for 3 minutes removed 55% more plaque than brushing for 30 seconds.
Maintain a healthy diet
Evidence suggests that regular consumption of sugary, starchy foods helps create an environment for the growth of bacteria in the mouth. In addition, they promote the release of harmful acids.
If the goal is to remove dental plaque and tartar, controlling the intake of these products is essential. Instead, increase the presence of healthy foods in the diet, such as fruits and vegetables. Likewise, it is advisable to ensure an optimal intake of water.
Tobacco use is one of the risk factors for dental tartar and periodontal disease. As detailed in research published in Infection and Immunity , smokers exhibit higher levels of certain proinflammatory cytokines implicated in periodontitis. In addition, more susceptibility to colonization by bacteria that form biofilms on teeth has been observed.
Home remedies to remove tartar from teeth: are they useful?
Until recently, home remedies to remove dental tartar were a ‘boom’ among Internet users. For many years, a wide variety of ingredients were reported as supposedly able to remove this calcification.
However, science and dentistry professionals have been responsible for denying most of them. As we have mentioned, instead of this, it is noted that they can become harmful, especially when used excessively. Below, we detail discuss the most popular.
1. Baking soda
The use of sodium bicarbonate as an adjuvant to take care of oral health is a controversial issue. First of all, it should be clarified that this substance by itself cannot remove tartar from teeth naturally. As we have already pointed out, this problem can only be solved by the dentist.
Even so, its effects against bacterial plaque and the prevention of oral problems are discussed. While some dental health professionals suggest that it is an abrasive substance that damages tooth enamel in the long term, others argue that its use in small amounts is safe.
But what does the science say? Well, a systematic review shared in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene reported that sodium bicarbonate had low abrasiveness in relative dentin abrasion tests.
Specifically, its index is 7 out of 100, which indicates that it is quite moderate compared to the level of abrasion of other dental products. Despite this, it is feared that its home application increases the risk of affecting tooth enamel, especially due to the technique used during brushing.
What do the experts say?
Dr. Gary Oscar Málaga Rivera explains in the dental health portal Dentaly.org the reasons why the home use of sodium bicarbonate is not convenient. The professional points out that the abrasiveness index increases according to the size of the dust particle and the application method.
That said, the ideal way to take advantage of the beneficial effects of bicarbonate on dental health is through toothpastes that contain it. In fact, the evidence suggests that these are more effective in removing bacterial plaque compared to pastes that do not have the ingredient.
Homemade recipe with baking soda
In contrast to the above, professionals such as Dr. Federico Baena Q are in favor of the home use of sodium bicarbonate , although in a prudent manner. Through his YouTube channel , the specialist in dental prosthetics and implantology shares a method for preparing a homemade toothpaste with baking soda.
Basically, it consists of combining a tablespoon of edible coconut oil (extra virgin), a tablespoon of baking soda, two vitamin E capsules, two sachets of stevia and 15 drops of mint tea. It is then stored in an airtight glass jar and, at the time of use, is applied with a spoon on the toothbrush.
Buena details that this paste can be an alternative for those who have a hypersensitivity reaction to toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). In a more recent video he comments that he has been using it for two years without any problems.
Even so, he emphasizes that it must be tested individually and its effects evaluated. If there are signs of adverse reactions, it is best to try other alternatives.
In popular literature, lemon juice was considered a dental care aid due to its antibacterial and supposedly whitening properties. In fact, its effect as a mouthwash was evaluated in a research article shared in the Journal of Oral Hygiene and Health .
There it was determined that it helps to act against certain oral bacteria such as the DH5α strain of E. coli. However, these findings are not enough to claim benefit. Aside from being a small study, the researchers don’t disregard the fact that citrus acids can cause dental erosion.
In relation to this, another study shared in PLoS One reported that lemon juice corrodes tooth enamel – the layer that protects the teeth – and this damage is irreversible. That said, its risks outweigh any possible benefits. Therefore, its use is discouraged, especially now that there are safer alternatives.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Home application of hydrogen peroxide does not help remove tartar from teeth naturally. Nor is it a solution against the yellowish hue that is acquired by the presence of bacterial plaque. However, its clinical and formulated use does have some benefits for oral health.
A study shared in Scientific World Journal detailed that mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide and a 10% carbamide peroxide gel promote teeth whitening.
Meanwhile, a study in the journal Nature reported that hydrogen peroxide can help stop the growth of bacteria that cause periodontitis. This could be a non-surgical resource to combat this disease.
What is the drawback?
Like baking soda, the risk of hydrogen peroxide lies in its misuse. Using too high concentrations or large amounts of product carries risks. Accidental ingestion can cause stomach upset and vomiting.
To use it safely at home, it is advisable to combine two parts of water and one of hydrogen peroxide to make external rinses (gargle for 30 seconds). In any case, the best option is to use rinses formulated with the ingredient. Its effectiveness increases in clinical use.
4. Coconut oil
For a long time, coconut oil rinses were popular for naturally removing tartar from teeth. Now, it is clear that it is not a relief for this dental problem. However, it does have benefits to take care of dental health and reduce the risk of infections.
In an investigation shared through the Journal of the International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry , it was determined that coconut oil helps stop the growth of Streptococcus mutants , a bacterium that causes cavities. Another study showed similar results.
For its part, through the Nigerian Medical Journal it was reported that coconut oil rinse therapy is an adjuvant to reduce the formation of tartar and plaque-induced gingivitis. In turn, this helps control other discomforts such as bad breath.
How to make this remedy?
To start with, put a tablespoon of warm coconut oil in your mouth. Then it is moved throughout the mouth for 5 to 10 minutes. To finish, you have to expel the oil on a paper towel or a boat (not through the pipe because it can cover it).
5. Apple cider vinegar
Like baking soda and lemon, apple cider vinegar has been one of the most popular remedies to remove tartar from teeth naturally. Some recipes even suggest the combination of all these ingredients to “enhance their effects”.
But far from being positive, this product can cause irreversible damage to teeth. Like the lemon, its high concentration of acids can lead to erosion of tooth enamel. Thus, it also affects a greater risk of dental sensitivity and cavities.
There are those who defend its use, as there is evidence of its potential to combat infectious agents in the mouth and reduce plaque formation. Despite this, experts warn that its risks significantly outweigh its benefits.
That said, it’s best not to use it. In case of doing so, it must be diluted in water. Home rinses often use a tablespoon of vinegar for every glass of water. This mixture is considered safe, but it is probably not effective.
6. Sesame seeds
It is not true that chewing these seeds helps remove accumulated debris from the teeth. Regarding its possible effects, research found that rinsing with oil from this ingredient causes moderate antimicrobial activity against S. mutants and L. acidophilus.
These bacteria are associated with the formation of bacterial plaque and gingivitis. Therefore, this remedy could be considered complementary. Another study in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reported similar effects and linked them to their sesame, sesamoid, and sesaminol content.
Other remedies that do not work to remove tartar from teeth naturally
The list of home remedies against dental tartar is quite extensive. But like those mentioned in the previous point, they do not represent an effective treatment option. In fact, most lack evidence regarding their possible effects on oral health. Therefore, its use is discouraged.
Parsley: There is no evidence that chewing parsley removes dental tartar or provides any benefit to oral health. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it helps neutralize bad breath (halitosis).
Strawberries: Rubbing your teeth with this fruit is not a solution to remove tartar from your teeth. It is also not a good option for whitening teeth. The American Dental Association warns that saturating your teeth with fruit acids can also play a role in damaging tooth enamel.
Mountain wormwood (Artemisia arborescens L) : in traditional medicine it was considered a complement to combat gingivitis, ulcers, bad breath and toothache. However, there is not enough evidence. In high doses it is toxic.
Activated Charcoal: Home use of activated charcoal can wear down tooth enamel and increase the risk of oral conditions. The reason? It is an abrasive substance. Also, recent studies failed to prove its whitening effect.
Citrus peels. They can affect tooth enamel due to their acid content.
What to remember about dental tartar removal?
Once formed, dental tartar can only be professionally removed in the dental office. Although folk remedies have promised to help this condition for years, the truth is that they are ineffective.
Some natural ingredients have the potential to reduce the risk of bacterial plaque, which is the main cause of tartar. Still, these do not replace the beneficial effects of good dental hygiene. In addition, they should be used with caution, only as a supplement.