Having dental plaque and tartar (calculus) equals to ruined smile but as though that is not bad enough, it also makes your gum and teeth susceptible gum disease and decay respectively. Luckily you can remove plaque and reduce tartar formation on teeth naturally with easily available and easy to use yet effective home remedies. Read on to discover how to go about plaque and tartar removal at home.
What Is Dental Plaque and Tartar (Calculus) and Why Will You Want To Remove Them At Home?
Dental plaque (or mouth plaque as some people call it) is a sticky colorless biofilm of bacteria that build up on the surface of the teeth, dental fillings (and crowns, dentures etc.), tongue, and gums. Left on the teeth, dental plaque turns into a hard brown or pale yellow mineral deposit called tartar or calculus. In other words, calculus is a hardened form of plaque.
Calculus or tartar is comprised of bacterial debris and plaque and is found between, behind, and in front of teeth as well as on the chewing surface, along the gum line and beneath the gum line margins. It is caused by precipitation of minerals in the saliva and the fluid in the plaque (referred to as gingival crevicular fluid or GCF) and can cause your gums to get swollen and/or bleed easily.
Now why will you want to remove dental plaque and tartar from your teeth? Firstly, tartar (calculus) is a cosmetic concern since it causes visible discoloration of the teeth. Secondly, calculus is associated with numerous dental problems including bad breath, gingiva inflammation, receding gums, etc. since it creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth. thirdly, plaque leads to the formation of calculus if neglected.
Home Remedies for Dental Plaque and Tartar Removal from Teeth
Unlike dental plaque, tartar is usually very stubborn and hard to remove once it has been formed. Brushing and flossing won’t be enough to remove tartar; more often than not a visit to the dentist will be required.
Even then you can prevent further formation of dental plaque and hence tartar naturally and avoid gum disease and tooth decay by using the following home remedies in addition to general dental hygiene measures, i.e. brushing, flossing, tongue brushing, using good toothpaste, etc.
Baking Soda for Natural Tooth Plaque Removal
Baking soda is one of the most popular natural home remedies for plaque removal. Baking soda is claimed to work by neutralizing the acids in the mouth associated with bacterial action while whitening and brightening the teeth thanks to its gritty texture.
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Dentistry showed brushing the teeth with baking soda paste to be more effective in removing tooth plaque than non-baking soda products. A guideline on how to remove plaque from teeth yourself naturally with baking soda is given below:
- Pour a teaspoon of baking soda into a bowl.
- Dip your toothbrush in water to wet the bristles, then scoop some baking soda onto it.
- Brush your teeth normally with the resulting baking soda paste.
- Rinse your mouth well with tepid water.
Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil to Remove Teeth Plaque and Prevent Tartar
Coconut oil has been of beneficial uses to humans for hundreds of years. Applied to the teeth, it is effective in dental plaque removal and by extension preventing the formation of tartar as a 2015 research study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal found.
You will especially want to look out for extra virgin coconut oil which is more potent in fighting bacteria and reducing inflammation since it is higher in lauric acid.
- Sip a tablespoon of coconut oil. Don’t swallow.
- Swish it around in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes, then spit out. (DO NOT gargle with the coconut oil or swallow it).
- Brush your teeth as you normally do.
- Do this every day first thing in the morning.
Some people will also vouch to the effectiveness of applying a small amount of coconut oil directly to the gums every day.
DIY Toothpaste for Dental Plaque Removal
You can also curb the formation of and get rid of plaque and thus tartar (calculus) naturally using a homemade toothpaste prepared by mixing the following ingredients:
- ½ cup of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 small sized packets stevia powder
- 1 tablespoon of essential oil of your choice e.g. peppermint, cinnamon etc.
- Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl
- Mix them thoroughly till well blended
- Use it to brush your teeth as usual daily.
The acetic acid in vinegar helps to stop demineralization while curbing the formation of new plaque not to mention that vinegar also has potent antibacterial action that is helpful in prevention of gum disease and tooth decay.
- To ½ cup of warm water, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Rinse your mouth with the mixture for 10 minutes then spit it out.
- Repeat once or twice each day to get rid of dental plaque and prevent tartar.
Guava for Plaque and Tartar Removal At Home
Guava has also been shown to be effective in reducing the buildup of plaque on teeth. A study published in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences in 2014 found guava leaf extract to effective in reducing the adhesion of plaque. It is also effective against Streptococcus mutans bacteria that are responsible for dental plaque. You can either use guava leaves or fruit for the purpose as follows:
- Get some guava leaves and wash them thoroughly
- Chew the leaves for 5 minutes, then chew them out
- Repeat the process once every day to remove plaque buildup
- Cut an unripe guava into two pieces. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on one half. Chew it gradually. Repeat once or twice daily until the plaque buildup is removed.
- A mouth rinse that contains guava extract will as well help to fight plaque at home without a dentist, so to speak.
Strawberries on Teeth to Remove Tooth Plaque and Tartar
Rubbing strawberries on the teeth also helps to fight plaque and tartar formation. This is thought to be attributed to the vitamin C in strawberries.
- Cut a strawberry into two halves
- Rub its juice on the teeth and gums
- Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse off with a baking soda and water solution.
Aloe vera can also help with dental plaque removal at home thanks to its antimicrobial activity which helps to kill the bacteria involved in dental plaque and tartar (calculus) formation and the associated gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
A research study conducted in 2014 and published in the Journal of Oral Health and Dental Management found aloe vera to have similar effect as Chlorhexidine mouth wash in as far as plaque and gingivitis treatment is concerned.
- Snip an aloe vera leaf from near the bottom of the aloe vera plant
- Extract the gel from the leaf
- Rub it directly on the teeth and gums
- Rinse it off with cold water after 10-15 minutes.
- Do this two times every day until you eliminate the buildup of plaque.
Orange peels are also touted to be one of the best ways to soften and remove dental plaque at home. Some people thinks the plaque and tartar fighting ability of orange peels is derived from its microorganism growth-inhibiting action of the vitamin C found abundantly in oranges. Others attribute this to plaque breaking action of a compound known as limonene.
Simply rub an orange peels directly onto the teeth before going to bed every night.
Cloves have been used for eons as a homemade solution for toothaches. It is also beneficial to plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth and gums. The easiest way to use cloves is to chew some pellets of the same and then rinsing the mouth with tepid water regularly, but you may as well use ground cloves for tooth plaque removal as outlined below:
- Combine 1 teaspoon of ground (powdered) cloves with about 5 drops of olive oil.
- Apply the mixture on your teeth and gums.
- Rinse off with lukewarm water after 5 to 10 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy two times each day.
Chewing sesame seeds can also help to get plaque off teeth. Here is how to go about it:
- Chew a handful of sesame seeds without swallowing them.
- Brush your teeth with the chewed sesame seeds acting as the toothpaste.
- Repeat this home remedy daily to get rid of plaque and whiten your teeth.
Eat an Apple or a Lemon after Meals
An apple a day is said to keep the doctor away, but did you know that an apple after meals can help to clean your teeth and prevent and get rid of dental plaque naturally? It also helps to keep the gums in optimum health. The same is also true of a lemon “savored” after a meal.
Black tea is also one of the best home remedies for plaque. It is thought to work by reducing the growth of oral bacteria while supplying the teeth with fluoride. To use this remedy for dental plaque and tartar removal at home, all you have got to do is to rinse your mouth with freshly brewed black tea after it has cooled down once daily.
Periogen for Removal of Plaque and Tartar at Home
In addition to the above natural home remedies for plaque, you may as well want to try periogen for cleaning of plaque and tartar from your teeth. This is an over the counter oral rinse preparation that is widely claimed to help treat plaque and calculus buildup on teeth. As the manufacture claims, an independent study showed a reduction of up to 45% of plaque and tartar compared to brushing of teeth alone. You can buy periogen from your local drugstore or on Amazon.
If the above remedies don’t help with dental plaque and tartar removal at home, it may be time to go see a dentist.
- Greater St. Louis Dental Hygienists’ Association: What is Plaque and Tartar?
- Journal of Clinical Dentistry: Enhancement of plaque removal efficacy by tooth brushing with baking soda dentifrices: results of five clinical studies.
- Nigerian Medical Journal: Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report
- WebMD: What is Tartar