How to Remove Tartar From Teeth Without a Dentist?

Oral hygiene plays a pivotal role in our overall health. It goes beyond a bright smile and fresh breath - it's about safeguarding ourselves from complications from poor dental health, such as tooth decay or gum disease. One of the most common but often overlooked problems is tartar buildup.

This post will guide you through understanding tartar better and answer the question, "Can I remove tartar at home without a dentist?"

Spoiler alert: No. But you can control its buildup.

Understanding Tartar

Tartar, or dental calculus, is a tough, sticky substance that forms on your teeth. It begins as plaque, a colorless, soft film of bacteria that forms on our teeth daily. 

When we eat, the sugars and carbohydrates in our food interact with this bacteria, leading to plaque formation.

Plaque is relatively easy to remove with regular brushing and flossing. However, if it's not removed within 24-72 hours, it hardens into tartar. This process is known as mineralization or calcification.

Tartar is much more challenging than plaque and clings stubbornly to tooth enamel, especially near the gum line.

While plaque and tartar contribute to the development of cavities and gum disease, they differ.

  • plaque is a soft, sticky film and can be easily brushed away
  • tartar is a hardened deposit requiring professional dental removal tools

Tartar creates a shield for bacteria, providing an environment that allows them to thrive. Its rough and porous surface offers an ideal ground for additional plaque formation. This accelerates the process of decay and gum disease.

The potential risks and complications of tartar are significant. It can lead to the following problems:

  • Tartar buildup can erode the tooth's enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay.
  • Tartar at the gum line can cause inflammation and bleeding, a condition known as gingivitis. If left untreated, it can progress to a more severe form of gum disease (periodontitis), resulting in tooth loss.
  • The bacteria in tartar can cause persistent bad breath (halitosis).
  • Tartar might make your teeth look yellow or brown and stain your teeth if you're a smoker or coffee lover.

Understanding the nature of tartar and its potential risks can help underscore the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene and seeking regular professional dental cleanings.

Preventing Tartar Buildup

Prevention is undoubtedly the best approach, including in managing tartar. By preventing plaque from hardening into tartar, you can avoid dental problems, including gum disease and cavities.

Here are some daily oral hygiene habits you should adopt to prevent tartar buildup:

Proper Brushing

To maintain optimal oral hygiene, we highly recommend brushing your teeth at least twice daily, after every meal. When brushing, it's important to use a soft-bristle toothbrush to ensure gentle cleaning without causing any harm to your gums and enamel.

Don't forget to swap out your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles start looking worn out. This way, you can make sure you're getting the most effective cleaning.

For an even more thorough clean, you might want to consider using an electric toothbrush. These devices are known to be highly effective in removing plaque and providing a more comprehensive brushing experience.

When it comes to brushing technique, here's a gentle reminder: hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums, moving it back and forth in short, gentle strokes. Be sure to brush the front, back, and top of each tooth. And don't forget the tongue!


Did you know that flossing at least once a day is an integral part of maintaining good oral hygiene? By flossing, you can effectively remove food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach areas that your toothbrush can't access, such as between the teeth and under the gum line.

This simple yet crucial habit can really make a difference in your overall and oral halth. So make sure to prioritize daily flossing to keep your smile bright and healthy!

Mouthwash Use

To maintain good oral hygiene, consider incorporating an antiseptic mouthwash into your routine. Killing bacteria helps prevent dental issues.

Be sure to choose a mouthwash that is specifically formulated to combat plaque, keeping your teeth and gums healthy and fresh.

Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings

Ensure optimal oral health with regular visits to your dentist. Did you know that scheduling professional cleanings and checkups at least twice a year can help prevent gum disease?

By doing this, your dentist can catch any early signs of gum disease and get rid of tartar from those hard-to-reach spots that regular brushing and flossing might miss. Take care of your smile!

Healthy Diet

Achieving optimal oral health is within reach by adhering to a nutritious diet rich in vital vitamins and minerals. We suggest keeping an eye on starchy and sugary foods since they can contribute to the formation of plaque.

Moreover, maintaining proper hydration through regular water consumption throughout the day facilitates the rinsing away of food particles and bacteria, promoting a healthier oral cavity.

Avoid Tobacco

If you're a smoker, consider quitting. This will stain your teeth and increase the risk of tartar buildup and gum disease.

Remember, a slight change in your daily routine can significantly impact your oral health. Adopting these preventive measures lets you keep your teeth tartar-free and maintain a healthy smile.

How to Remove Tartar at Home

While professional dental cleanings are the only effective way to remove tartar, you can use a few methods at home to manage and control its buildup.

It's important to note that these may not work, and their effectiveness is based on anecdotal evidence. Some of these methods are even dangerous. 

The internet is full of questionable information, and we’re here to make sure you understand the risks involved.

Here are a few ways you can try to manage tartar without a dentist:

Brushing with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a known natural abrasive that may help with plaque on your teeth. Wet your toothbrush, apply a tiny amount of baking soda, and brush your teeth.

Allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before rinsing your mouth thoroughly.

Keep in mind that baking soda is in no way a substitute for brushing with fluoride toothpaste. It does not prevent cavities.

Oil Pulling

This traditional Indian remedy is believed to reduce tartar and improve oral hygiene. Swish a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil in your mouth for roughly 15 to 20 minutes, and then spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water.

Using White Vinegar - Caution

White vinegar can help inhibit the growth of bacteria and loosen tartar. 

However, we do not recommend using any type of vinegar on your teeth. Vinegar is highly acidic (up to 25% acidity) and can erode tooth enamel. 

Using Special Toothpaste and Mouthwash

In the market, you can find toothpaste and mouthwashes specially formulated to control the build-up of tartar on your teeth. These products contain specific chemical agents that effectively prevent tartar from hardening and sticking to your teeth, ensuring better oral health and hygiene.

Note: No mouthwash or toothpaste will remove tartar buildup. They might work to control its accumulation, but the only method of eliminating tartar is with professional dental cleaning.

Tartar Removal Kits

There are also over-the-counter tartar removal kits with tools similar to those used by dentists. If you choose to use these, follow the instructions carefully to avoid injuring your gums.

As dental professionals, we highly discourage you from using any devices designed to remove tartar at home. They are often mishandled, difficult to use, and can cause harm to your teeth and gums. It is always best to leave tartar removal to a professional dentist.

Seek Professional Help for Tartar

Despite your best at-home efforts, removing tartar will require professional dental assistance.  Certain signs indicate you may need that help rather sooner than later:

Red, Swollen, or Bleeding Gums: This could be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis, which needs to be addressed by a dentist.

Persistent Bad Breath: If bad breath doesn't go away despite regular brushing and flossing, it can indicate gum disease or other dental problems.

Pain or Sensitivity in Teeth: If you're experiencing pain or sensitivity while eating or drinking, this may be a sign of cavities or other dental issues.

Visible Tartar Buildup: If you can see a yellow or brown mineral deposit on your teeth, especially around the gum line, you need professional help to remove it.

Neglecting professional dental care can lead to serious oral health problems. Tartar is much harder than plaque and cannot be completely removed with a toothbrush or floss.

If tartar is not removed, it may lead to more serious dental issues, like gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.

Professional Dental Cleanings at Nova Dental

Maintaining and achieving optimal oral health is a two-fold process. It requires a balanced approach that combines diligent at-home care with regular professional dental cleanings.

At-home care, including proper brushing, flossing, and using mouthwashes or other tartar control methods, can help manage plaque and prevent it from hardening into tartar.

However, these methods alone cannot remove all tartar, especially in hard-to-reach areas or below the gum line.

Professional dental cleaning plays a pivotal role in this process. They allow for the complete removal of tartar deposits and a thorough of your overall oral health. 

At Nova Dental, we're all about giving you the dental care you need, customized just for you. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through your oral health journey, providing the treatments and advice necessary to keep your smile healthy and bright.

Remember, your oral health is an important part of your overall well-being, and we're here to support you every step of the way. So, let's take care of that smile together!

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