On White Calculus

From the perspective of calculus, there are two types of patients: those who dedicate time to regular scales and those who don’t. Regular scales helps reducing the tartar buildup at the base of your teeth; this buildup is indeed influenced by the quality of your saliva (the higher the calcium levels, the faster the buildup process), but it can also be the effect of other elements, such as smoking, coffee, various foods, etc.

In the case of patients who don’t take the time to get regular scaling, we have three distinct subcategories: patients who brush regularly and correctly (twice to three times a day for two to three minutes); patients who over-brush; and patients who don’t brush regularly for various reasons. The first category is preferable here, as the levels of tartar are lowest here; the third category of patients develop brown tartar or calculus; whereas the second category is prone to developing white tartar.

In general, people who have white tartar don’t consider it a problem, even if it is. We are accustomed to self-diagnose our teeth medical problems based on pain and aesthetics and white tartar will not respond to either of them. But here’s what happens:

  • Due to the positioning of salivary glands in the mouth, tartar is more prone to form at the base of the back of the lower teeth. This doesn’t tell your doctor you’ve developed a defective way of brushing, but calculus on any other surface of your teeth does.
  • When you over-brush (in most of the situations, it is the case when you try to obtain a crispier shade of white) without having a scaling first, you basically discolor the calculus. If you insist, you may be able to get a similar shade as the one of your teeth, especially if you’re not smoking, you don’t drink coffee, red wine, etc., but this is obviously not recommended.
  • However, don’t be fooled by this effect: white calculus is equally dangerous as it preserves an environment for the future development of cavities at the base of your teeth.

When it comes to calculus, color is irrelevant; consult your dentist, as he or she will tell you how often you should get a scale to keep your teeth healthy (and good-looking) in the short and in the long run.

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