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The Sauce Isn’t In This Tartar

Posted in Periodontal Treatment | July 30, 2018

Periodontal Disease Mount Pleasant, MIIn Michigan, whether it’s a pond in the woods down the street or the expanses of Lake Superior, we love to fish. It could be perch and sunfish in a pond or a monster pike or muskie in the Great Lakes. And when those fish are cleaned and grilled or fried, many of us like to add a little tartar sauce.

But don’t tell Dr. Egger, he hates tartar, because tartar on teeth if left unattended is the start of gum disease and lots of dental problems.

How does tartar get on my teeth?

Plaque is always trying to form on our teeth. It’s a sticky, colorless film of bacteria. Plaque and your toothbrush have an ongoing battle for supremacy. Every day you brush it away only to have it re-form the next day. But plaque isn’t tough to remove; all it takes it some attentive brushing and flossing. However, if you’re a haphazard brusher, that’s the start of problems with plaque.

That’s because if you allow plaque to stay on your teeth it hardens, a process known as calcification. Now it’s no longer called plaque — this hard stuff is tartar, and it’s no good on fish. It starts on your teeth above the gums and then progresses slowly under the gumline. Initially this creeping up under the gums irritates the gums. This is called gingivitis. But as more tartar builds up and the gums become more inflamed, they begin to pull away from the teeth. Pockets form, trapping bacteria. Now you have periodontitis, dreaded gum disease.

Chipping away at your tartar

Everyone forms some tartar, especially on their bottom incisors. But that’s why six-month intervals for professional cleanings with Dr. Egger and his team are so important. Six months is about the time it takes for tartar to form, but not to begin to move under the gumline.

Tartar can’t be removed at home. We use dental picks in a process known as scaling. The pick is applied to the edge of the tartar, and some force is applied. The tartar often then will flake off, like a shell. Other times, we need to scrape back and forth with the pick to break it off.

Some people think they can get tartar off their teeth at home. But while you may get a bit of it off, the rest well remain and continue grow and expand under your gums.

Tartar on your trout? That’s fine, although a lemon dill sauce would probably be tastier! Tartar on your teeth? That’s not fine. Come in and let us get it off before it starts creating mayhem with your oral health.

To make your next appointment, call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560.


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