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If plaque is not removed daily through brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar, also known as dental calculus. The only way to get rid of tartar is to have it scraped off by a professional dental hygienist—but you might be tempted to try doing it yourself. In today’s post, our South Park dentist explains why that’s not a good idea.

The Risks of DIY Plaque Scraping

During a tooth cleaning, the dental hygienist uses a specialized tool called a plaque scraper to scale the area beneath the gumline and the surface of the teeth. Although plaque scrapers can be purchased in some stores and online, it’s not a good idea to use them on yourself. Because plaque scrapers are sharp, improper use can damage the delicate gum tissue or injure your cheeks, tongue, or other soft tissues. Trauma to soft oral tissue isn’t just painful; it can also expose you to infection, especially if tartar is accidentally pushed beneath the gumline.

Removing Plaque Safely

It takes years of training for dental hygienists to learn how to use plaque scrapers safely. They are not something that should be used by an untrained layperson! Secondly, it is unlikely that you will be able to identify and remove plaque as well as a trained dental professional. Much of the plaque that dental hygienists remove lurks beneath the gumline and can be difficult to spot.

While it’s not a good idea to use a plaque scaler at home, there are things you can do at home to keep your teeth healthy in-between dental appointments. Floss once daily, and brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Plaque removal is important for good oral health, but it’s not a DIY project. If you’re worried about plaque, be sure to see your dentist and dental hygienist for safe, professional treatment.

Schedule an Appointment with Our South Park Dentist

If you live in South Park and need a dental cleaning, dental exam, or other dental service, stop by our office today! Our South Park dental team can’t wait to see you. To schedule your appointment, please click here.

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