You probably know what tartar is: it’s that unsightly gunk that builds up on the teeth. Tartar generally happens due to poor dental hygiene, as it forms when plaque is not removed. However, while yellow tartar is bad, black tartar is even more unattractive. What is black tartar, and how can you prevent it? A Midtown Miami, FL dentist ‘bites’ into this topic below.
Tartar—both yellow and black—always forms the same way. Tartar is a result of the chemical reactions that start when you eat food. To put it into simplified terms, the bacteria in your mouth produce waste, which, when combined with saliva and food particles, turns into that gross, sticky substance known as plaque … the bane of many a tooth. Plaque, as one can imagine, is teeming with bacteria. If it isn’t removed, it thickens into tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar is much harder to remove than plaque. It sticks to the teeth like porous cement, allowing germs to wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, but requires a professional cleaning from a dental hygienist.
Yellow tartar is bad enough, but sometimes tartar turns black. This can happen for several reasons. Smoking and tobacco use can play a role. (Note: these habits also increase the risk of gum disease.) People who drink a lot of dark beverages, such as coffee, sodas, and red wine, are also susceptible to black tartar. Black tartar can also happen as a result of damage to the tooth enamel. Finally, tartar that is below the gumline sometimes turns black. As you may know, bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. That blood can combine with the tartar, causing that black appearance. This is also one of the more visible signs of gum disease.
What to Do?
Black tartar is both a medical issue and a cosmetic one. If you have black—or even yellow—tartar, you’ll definitely want to make an appointment for a cleaning right away. Keeping up with proper dental habits can also help a lot. We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes. You should also clean between your teeth daily, using either floss or a dental water tool.
Do you need to make an appointment? Contact us, your Midtown Miami, FL dental care center, today!