Have your teeth been feeling a little gross lately? If the pandemic has you feeling like hygiene doesn't matter anymore (no judgment here!), you may be thinking that your teeth need a change. Skipping a day of showering never hurt anyone, but your teeth need a little extra TLC, because when calculus builds up on your teeth, it’s not the best feeling.
Here at Supersmile, we were founded by Dr. Irwin Smigel, the Father of Aesthetic Dentistry, so trust us, we know about teeth!
And now, we want to share that knowledge with you so you can keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean so you can be confident in your glowing smile, and get back to turning that camera back on for your Zoom meetings.
When it comes to your teeth, we know that you want the best, and so do we! There's nothing that brings us more joy than bringing bright, healthy smiles into the world. One of the best places to start is with a discussion of calculus. But don't worry; we're not talking about math.
Dental Calculus, What It Is and How To Get Rid of It
Dental calculus is the scientific term for tartar. Prepare yourself because this explanation is about to get a little icky.
Basically, the bacteria that live in your mouth get into the stuff you eat and drink. That combination then sticks to your teeth, your gums, and any kind of dental appliances in your mouth.
Because that plaque has bacteria in it, it can cause some real problems, way worse than yellow teeth or bad breath. Removing that plaque regularly is the best way to take care of your mouth and keep you smiling.
However, taking a day off from flossing and brushing lets that plaque harden into tartar or calculus. Generally, that tartar builds up around the gum line because it's harder to scrub down in there. After a while, the bacteria infect your gums and can lead to diseases like gingivitis. Luckily, this is the mildest form of gum disease and can be reversed from the comfort of your home by increasing your brushing and flossing routine or using other deep cleaning dental products.
Typically, the best way to get rid of calculus is to go to a dentist for a deep clean. They have special tools that can scrape your teeth and your gums' inner lining to get everything out.
Once they have finished with the scraping, they polish your teeth for a good, clean feel. That scrape may be good for your mouth's hygiene, but some people dislike the feeling and find that it can be painful. Well, we all know the saying no pain, no gain, and when it comes to your teeth, a little pain now is definitely worth not having gum disease later.
However, it doesn't all have to be painful. You can still do other relatively easy things to stop the calculus from building up in the first place by getting rid of plaque and removing some of the tartar your teeth have already collected.
When To See A Dentist
During the pandemic, everyone has been putting off their dentist appointments. You are not alone! The government has been recommending that people stay home whenever possible, and getting your teeth cleaned just doesn’t seem to count as an emergency. Not to mention, having someone poking around in your mouth just feels dangerous when there is a dangerous disease on the loose and we’re all masked up everywhere else we go.
Plus, most people don't necessarily enjoy going to the dentist even under the best circumstances, so it's no wonder so many people decided not to go at all during 2020. Having said that, sometimes you really need that professional touch to stop your mouth from having its own health problems.
As mentioned above, gingivitis can become a real issue if you let the calculus stay on your teeth long enough. But gingivitis is still something you can conquer from home.
More serious forms of gum disease, like periodontitis, when you develop pockets in your gums, and the bacteria in them start to rot your teeth will require the dentist's intervention.
It's easy to put off dental appointments because of work or global pandemics, but we are talking about your mouth's health here. That should always be your number one priority. Your mouth deserves the best you can give it!
Avoiding Calculus Build-Up
When it comes to removing calculus that is already on your teeth, one of the best ways is to use toothpaste with baking soda. Baking soda helps soften dental plaque, making it easier to clean away when you brush and floss. Plus, it is also slightly abrasive, so it gives you an extra edge when you scrub those pearly whites.
Supersmile's Extra Whitening Pre-Rinse contains baking soda to make it easier for you to brush that calculus away.
Use it before brushing your teeth in order to give the baking soda a chance to do its job. The pre-rinse not only softens the calculus but also helps you prevent gingivitis and makes your smile glow and sparkle. So, before you whip out that toothbrush, remember to swish, swish, baby!
Speaking of brushing, one of the best ways to make sure you are getting all of that plaque and tartar is to use the right toothbrush.
Electric toothbrushes are often able to reach places you can't clean as well when you brush manually. Plus, electric brushes also allow you to change out the head after a while, which is important to do so that your toothbrush is as squeaky clean as your teeth.
Our Zina45 Deluxe Sonic Pulse Toothbrush is a particularly good candidate for the job.
It has an automatic timer on it, so the brush will alert you when you have hit the recommended two-minute time allotment. Plus, with four separate cleaning modes, you never have to worry that you missed a spot. All of those and more features make this toothbrush a serious investment in a sparkling smile.
Another aspect of brushing is how long you brush for. Most people just get in and out without thinking (since they're still half-asleep probably!), but it’s important to try to spend two minutes brushing. You can play a song on your phone if you don't want to worry about timing yourself, but a two-minute brush is exactly what you need to get everywhere in your mouth.
You should also try to brush at least twice a day, so you never spend more than a few hours with residual food bits on your teeth.
Many people make it part of their morning and nightly routines. When something becomes a habit, you won't have to keep writing yourself Post-It notes and leaving them all over the bathroom -- it only takes an average of 66 days so get to it ASAP!
The Flossing Conundrum
Don't let the title fool you: the conundrum isn't whether or not you need to floss. News flash! You definitely do.
People always leave the dentist office promising that they will floss, and most of them do… for a few days. Unfortunately, even though we get into the habit of brushing our teeth as kids, parents are much less likely to demand that their children also floss.
There's no real reason why kids shouldn't floss, and luckily, it isn't exceedingly difficult. But the main reason most kids don’t learn to floss is because their parents don't floss regularly, or they forget about it. Hey, we don't blame you! There's a lot going on, and raising kids is no joke. But we want to protect all of your smiles for years to come.
That being said, everyone should be flossing from a young age.
The good news is that if you’ve never flossed your teeth before, it’s never too late to start.
If you’re a first timer, it will probably be a little uncomfortable, and you may end up bleeding a little bit, but that simply (usually) means the flossing is working. If you find that your gums bleed when you floss, that is usually a sign of mild to moderate gum disease. Don't worry! After you make a habit of flossing a few times daily, the bleeding should eventually lessen and stop altogether as your gums toughen up and don't have as much plaque and bacteria irritating them.
Although dental calculus is a pain and can lead to some unpleasant side effects, your dentist can help you get rid of it regularly and leave you with a fresh, clean slate and a beautiful smile.
Your smile should be as bright as you are, so make sure to keep on brushing and flossing! In fact, now that you're thinking about it, why not give yourself a good flossing? Your teeth will definitely thank you for thinking of them!