How Can I get Rid of the Tartar Buildup on my Teeth?

October 16, 2013

I get the question a lot, especially from people who try at their best efforts to avoid the dentist (due to fear, costs, etc). Ultimately, my *best* recommendation is to see your Dentist (and hygienist) to have the tarter removed as effectively as possible.
Dental ScalerAs a product recommend-er, – I do know that they sell scalers in the dental section at many stores along with mouth mirrors that you can use to remove the tartar above the gum line. This is meant to use between appointments to keep your smile looking and feeling good.

This product was released not as a supplement to dental treatment – but mainly because there are some people are just naturally ‘tarter builders’. They have excess calcium in their saliva, which in turn hardens the plaque at a much faster rate. Many people like this seek the dentist even more than the regular two times per year, and brush/floss all they can – but they still get tarter between their teeth and it begins to bother their tongue. This is the main reason to use the store bought scalers – so you can remove the buildup between appointments.


Keep in mind that if has been a while since you’ve seen the dentist and you have tarter buildup above the gum line – you likely have tarter buildup below the gum line as well. It would be nearly impossible (and quite dangerous) for you to try to remove that yourself.


Photo Source Unknown

Why do we want to get rid of tarter under the gums?

Tarter buildup creates a harsh environment for the surrounding bone of the tooth. It creates a blockade that does not allow the gums to attach to the tooth, creating a ‘pocket’ or a space between the tooth and your gums. At each dental appointment the hygienist measures that space. That space is important to be aware of, because the bacteria in your mouth builds up down there, and your toothbrush only reaches 1-2mm below the gum line at BEST. Flossing gets you maybe to 3mm (again, at best if you’re doing it perfectly). So when you have bacteria below the 1-3mm space, it becomes aggressive, and starts to deteriorate the bone surrounding the tooth, creating an infection and ultimately leading to tooth loss.

I’ll get into this in more detail about this (periodontal disease) another day.

Big Take-Home: See your dentist, and get your teeth cleaned regularly! 😀


  1. yea..I think I’m one of those people who has tartar build up very fast. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll get the scalers the next time I visit the pharmacy. I do not like to visit the dentist that often hence this is the best way 🙂

  2. Rebecca Parsons says:

    I have a dentist appointment next week. I know all about having bad teeth, i always have so I have to go to my six month checkup and not skip out on it like I sometimes want.

    • That’s very good to be aware of! Keeping on top of things is much better than playing ‘catch up’ all the time!

  3. Betty Baez says:

    Wow! good to know! this reminds me to setup my appointment next week im due for a cleaning!

  4. stephanie says:

    this sounds really cool

  5. ellen beck says:

    Arg the cleaning is the worst. Honest I can take a shot a root canal or a tooth pulled and not much bat an eye but tartar removal sends me through the roof.

    • Do they always ‘scrape’ your teeth cleaned? There are other ways to clean your teeth that aren’t quite so annoying, too. The Ultrasonic/Cavitron is a tool that the hygienist can use that sprays water and vibrates the plaque off of your teeth at ultrasonic speeds. Most offices have one or something very similar to this. You should ask next time 😀

  6. I am so dental phobic I kind of cringed just reading and thinking about what you wrote. I know I need to go – it’s been way to long. But I just don’t know how to get my head around it.

    • Find a super nice office that does really relaxing things. Yes, you might pay a tiny bit more up front for the ‘spa treatment’ type offices, but imagine the help of taking your mind off of the dental stuff! Offices like that really do their best to make you comfortable so that you can relax as much as you can at a dental office.
      (Not my advice for just anyone! – If you’re not phobic, I like the little corner/hole-in-the-wall offices because they tend not to over-treat just to try to make more $ – and they’re usually focused more on getting to know you and your family vs. knowing your insurance and income levels.)

      Take it from someone who sees it ALL the time. The LONGER you stay away, the worse it gets. I assume you want to be able to eat when your 80 – so definitely do what you can to get to the office – It’ll be easier when you get back on track!

  7. I get a pretty bad tarter buildup on my teeth, especially on the bottom row in the front.

  8. Nope they dont have one of those other machines it is ALWAYS the scraper that hurts like bejeebers it is the most horrid thing ever and it hurts like mad :/

  9. shelly peterson says:

    This would be nice to use in between cleanings for those who do have extra tartar build up. I really need to get in for a cleaning though, It’s not always easy when you dont have dental insurance. 🙁

  10. Danalee Davis says:

    Thank you for the dental info!

  11. Nothing substitutes for a professional dental cleaning. I have always gone twice a year for mine and have great teeth to show for it.

  12. Robin Wilson says:

    I think this is great for those in-between visits! We do our best to go twice a year, but my husband’s insurance only covers cleanings once a year (stupid I know), so this would be an invaluable tool to have and use.

  13. Julie Wood says:

    Great product to only use between regular visits to the doctor to help get rid of tartar build up. I would like to get one of these to see how it works for me.

  14. Juanita A. says:

    I go twice a year since I have insurance and they are free. I just learned since I am preggo I can get an extra visit in free. Great 🙂 I have seen those teeth scrapers. I think I might need one of them. When I go to the dentist it seems like they scrape and scrape forever.

  15. Buddy Garrett says:

    The article was very informative. The scalers sound great but since I haven’t been going to the dentist regularly I believe my tartar buidup is below the gumline and I have gun disease. The only treatment for me is by e dentist.

  16. use your fingernail to scrap it off

  17. use act mauthwASH it’s grate stouf

  18. use act mouthwash it’s grate stouf. also it’s dentist recommended.

  19. Rebecca Parsons says:

    I got a kit like this after I had a dentist appointment to do this between cleaning. We go every six months so I felt it best to do what I could at home so I spend less time in the dentist chair.

  20. Oh we should try this! Our teeth seem to build up the plaque and tarter so fast…I think this would really help our family!

  21. Mary Happymommy says:

    My daughter seems to have more tartar build up than most people, even though we brush really well.

  22. Julie Wood says:

    When you get older, it is so important to brush and floss daily and get your teeth clean. I make sure to clean my teeth twice a day and floss. I do not want expensive dental bills.

  23. Megan Filzen says:

    I loved reading this! TY

  24. I’m always looking for new ways to get my teeth whiter.

  25. Great advice. I need to sign up for a cleaning soon. I am a little past due

  26. vickie couturier says:

    interesting,,we all need to know this and take better care of our teeth

  27. Laurie Strebe says:

    I love that you have mentioned dental visits are a must and these cheap instruments can only remove a small amount or tarter (calc) above the gum line. I am also a Dental Hygienist. For anyone reading this please know we do not care if your last cleaning was 20 years ago! We are just Happy Your Here Today!

  28. nicole dziedzic says:

    I keep at set of these in the bathroom at all times, I love the little mirror, comes in handy when you need to see what is going on in there sometimes.

  29. This is great to know and something they’ve never explained at my dentist appointments. Speaking of which I should schedule because we haven’t gone in too long.

  30. I would not recommend this product at all! While it may remove some tartar, it will leave the surface of your tooth with scratches that allow plaque to attach and grow even more readily. Ever noticed that after your teeth are cleaned, the hygienist uses a special paste and instrument to polish them? The polishing portion of your cleaning is the most important step! It smooths the tooth surface, making it more difficult for plaque and tartar to build-up and making it easier to brush plaque away.

  31. Kristina Leezer says:

    I’ve tried this kind of set and it’s kind of scary…. more so than going to the dentist. I think it’s worth it to go and get it professionally done.

  32. James Robert says:

    I need to get this to keep in between my dental visits. It would be great for all of us here to have one to use.

  33. Good to know. Thanks for sharing this

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