If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to calculus – that is, until your dentist starts talking about it. Believe it or not, calculus can form both on and below the gum line, and if left untreated, can lead to all sorts of problems including gingivitis and even tooth loss. Let’s discuss what subgingival calculus is, how it forms, and five tips for preventing it!
What is Subgingival Calculus?
Subgingival calculus is a type of tartar that forms below the gum line. Unlike regular tartar (which can form both above and below the gum line), subgingival calculus can only form below the gum line. This is because subgingival calculus is made up of bacteria, food particles, and other debris that becomes trapped below the gum line.
How does Subgingival Calculus Form?
Subgingival calculus forms when plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) is not removed from the teeth and gums. Plaque begins to form within 24 hours after brushing, and if not removed, can harden into calculus within 48-72 hours. When plaque forms below the gum line, it is much harder to remove and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
What does it look like?
Subgingival calculus appears as a dark, hard substance that can be found both on and below the gum line.
Subgingival Calculus and Periodontal Disease
Subgingival calculus is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that can damage the bone and connective tissue that support the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is caused by plaque that has not been removed from the teeth and gums. Symptoms include red, swollen, and bleeding gums. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Gingivitis can be reversed with a professional dental cleaning and good oral hygiene habits. However, if plaque is not removed and allowed to harden into calculus, it can lead to periodontitis.
Preventing Subgingival Calculus
The best way to prevent subgingival calculus is to brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Here are five tips for preventing subgingival calculus:
- Brush twice a day with a toothbrush that has soft bristles and a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Floss daily. Use an interdental brush or water flosser to clean between your teeth.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash regularly.
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
- If you have braces, make sure to brush and floss regularly to prevent calculus from forming.
We hope this blog post has been informative. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the dental experts at Precision Smile Dentistry. Our doctors and staff will be more than happy to assist you so you can enjoy a healthy mouth and fresh breath.