Tartar on the Teeth




Take a look at what Periogen® can do for you to remove stubborn plaque, tartar (calculus) from your teeth.

The photo on the left shows tartar on the teeth. The photo on the right shows the same teeth after regular use of Periogen®. If you use Periogen® to dissolve plaque and tartar in conjunction with your regular dental visits, you will be on the path to excellent oral hygiene. Periogen® has been proven to clean calculus, plaque and tartar from teeth.

tartar teethteeth calculus removal


About Tartar

Dental tartar (or dental calculus as it is known by dental professionals) is a hard matrix of fossilized bacteria that forms on teeth above and below the gum line.


Tartar above the gum line is referred to as supragingival tartar; tartar below the gum line is referred to as subgingival tartar.



Tartar Composition


Dental Tartar is comprised almost entirely of Calcium Phosphate Salt, or the ionic derivative of Calcium Phosphate; the basic component of tooth material. Unlike Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate “Salt” has lost two electrons; thus making it a positive ion, which is electrically unstable. This transformation is not uncommon in the natural world, and can easily be compared to Insoluble Calcium Carbonate, which is the primary component in lime deposits which stick to water pipes, faucets and kitchen appliances.



Tartar Component Formation


As mentioned above, the smaller components of dental tartar is actually fossilized bacterium.


As bacteria multiply in the mouth, which happens constantly, they form plaque communities that feed off of nutrients left behind after eating. This is primarily the case in supragingival, or above the gum line plaque.


Subgingival, or below the gum line plaque, is similar except the deeper the plaque formations are in a given periodontal pocket, the more they contain complex biofilms. These biofilms contain anaerobic bacteria which elicit an inflammatory response via inflammatory mediators - which contains harmful enzymes and causes bone and tissue destruction.


In both cases, the inner-most bacteria in plaque formations are starved of their food source and die. Because of a preponderance of Calcium Phosphate Salt in saliva, these dead bacteria fossilize; and their biologic composition is replaced by Calcium Phosphate Salt. What remains of deceased bacilli is a solid piece of electrically unstable Calcium Phosphate Salt of the original shape and size of the dead bacilli.



Electrostatic Assembly of Dental Tartar


Fossilized ionic bacteria floating in dental plaque are electrically unstable and are attracted to oppositely charged material, such as tooth surfaces. This electrostatic attraction causes them to “land” on the tooth surface and “stick.” Their electrical charge remains unsatisfied, as no electron transfer is possible due to their ionic structure. To simplify this, one may compare this to “static cling” as is common in everyday life with clothing, toy balloons and the like.


So the initial attachment of tartar to tooth surfaces in tenuous at best. This is soon replaced, however, by a much more mechanical attachment in some tooth regions.


Wherever tartar initially adheres, it is grown by an endless supply of new fossilized bacteria, which pile on due to the same electrostatic attractions. These are the “bricks” of tartar formations. The “mortar” is provided by and endless supply of free-floating Calcium Phosphate Salt, which fill in some micro-spaces in the tartar accumulations and provide extra strength and “hardness.”


Depending on how porous a particular tooth surface is, tartar attachment varies in its ability to adhere to a surface. Well above the gum line at the enamel region, tartar has a difficult time seriously attaching to the tooth surface. Any dental hygienist can attest to the ease of tartar removal in this region. As tartar forms below the enamel, where tooth surfaces are microscopically porous and rough, tartar gets a foothold just underneath the tooth surface on the cementum and dentin. These formations are frequently described as “tenacious” and are much more difficult to remove.



Dissolving Tartar


Tartar is held together by two factors: electrostatic attraction and mechanical adhesion.  Dissolving tartar successfully is to take advantage of the limitations of these factors.



Neutralizing Electrostatic Attraction


Dental tartar is comprised mainly of Calcium Phosphate Salts.  The components are ionic by nature, meaning they have an extra electron in their basic composition.  This makes the each ionic component attract to the same areas of tooth surfaces. All that is needed is to make each ionic component electrically neutral is to introduce a positively charged ion that will be electrostatically attracted to the negatively charged component.


As Periogen® is applied to tartar accumulations via swishing, an oral irrigator or subgingival applicator, positive ions, (micro-quantities of sodium fluoride in the case of Periogen®) attach themselves to tartar components and thus make them electrically neutral.  These new neutralized tartar components are no longer attracted to tooth surfaces and other tartar, and will float away and be flushed out of periodontal pockets by crevical fluid movement and subsequent applications of Periogen® via oral irrigation.

This tartar-neutralizing process destabilizes the top and side layers of tartar formations with each new Periogen® application, until the tartar formations are overwhelmed at the core and fall off tooth surfaces.

Defeating Mechanical Adhesion


The ability of tartar to mechanically attach to tooth surfaces is directly related to how porous each surface is.  Enamel is not particularly porous, whereas dentin and cementum (located below the gum line) are very porous.  The more porous the tooth surface, the more aggressively tartar attaches mechanically by forming around microscopic edges and irregularities in the tooth surface.


This mechanical adhesion is the result of ionic components piling on each other via electrostatic attraction.  Mechanical adhesion of tartar is dismissed by the same factors noted above.  Neutralize the ionic tartar components that are in and around the tooth’s surface irregularities and they float away too.

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