Does tartar and calculus mean the same thing?


Tartar is what you might see on a toothpaste commercial.

Calculus is the slightly more “textbook” term.

Yes, they mean the same thing.

Basically, it is calcified plaque bacteria. Like bacteria encased in crystals of minerals which you cannot simply brush off at home. A bit like limescale at the bottom of a kettle, it is hardened-on.

Calculus accumulates on any hard surface in the mouth such as tooth and root surfaces (most commonly on upper molar teeth and lower incisor teeth).

It builds up both above the gumline where it is visible (often yellow or brown), and critically, below the gumline too (your gums may have a black or grey colour of the gums where it connects too).

Some people think calculus causes gum disease. This is a common misconception. It is actually the soft plaque bacteria building up on top of the calculus which creates the problem.

This means that just “deep cleaning” the calculus is not as essential as it might first seem. The priority is your Daily Self-Performed Care at home in your bathroom.

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