Hello Dottore: Cos’è il tartaro e come si sviluppa? Ask the dentist

Hello Doctor: What is tartar and how does it develop? Ask the dentist

Hello Brusher,

here you will find all the answers to the most frequently asked questions about tartar formation. Dr. Gambino, dental hygienist, gives advice for dental hygiene at home. If there are still unanswered questions, send us a message via email or on Instagram.

dr. gambino dental hygienist advice promis


Tartar is nothing more than mineralized bacterial plaque (multi-species microorganisms organized to colonize the surfaces of the teeth). The amount of tartar that forms varies depending on several factors, such as age (the older you get, the more tartar you have), gender (males are more predisposed), race, dental location, and, of course, poor oral hygiene. Tartar formation occurs following the deposition on the dental surface of organic and inorganic bacterial matrix (such as the mineral salts present in saliva), which if not removed daily tend to harden and can only be eliminated with a professional hygiene session.


Generally, we can find it on the lower incisors and upper molars. It has a yellow color that turns orange depending on how "old" it is (in smokers it tends to brown/black). There are plaque detectors and tartar on the market that, in the form of liquids or candies, color the bacteria so that the patient can clearly see the amount and location. Once colored, just take the toothbrush and properly brush your teeth, you will see that the color from the surface of the teeth will pass directly onto the bristles.

**Receive plaque detectors for free by purchasing a promis kit**


Tartar formations have no benefits for our oral health, on the contrary, they constitute the ideal environment for bacterial development. In fact, thanks to its organic component, it can adhere to all surfaces of the oral cavity (teeth, implants, crowns, bridges, fillings, prostheses) and due to its porosity, it creates niches where bacteria proliferate undisturbed, secreting inflammatory substances harmful to the health of oral tissues.


Removing tartar is the basis of preventing bacteria-dependent pathologies that we can find in the oral cavity. Being a structure capable of hosting microorganisms, the less there is, the less they can organize and cause us problems (cavities, abscesses, gingivitis, periodontitis, etc).

Generally, professional oral hygiene should be done every 6 months. This timing can vary depending on several factors (patient's manual dexterity, genetic predisposition, motor disabilities, presence of prostheses, etc.) and can range from a minimum of 45 days to a maximum of 12 months. The professional will evaluate, from time to time, the most appropriate timing for the next recall.


On average, an oral hygiene session lasts from 45-60 minutes. There are steps to follow to ensure a truly professional and useful job for the patient's health.

After the compilation and study of the medical history form an accurate inspection of the oral cavity must be performed to evaluate any past or ongoing problems (and if necessary, refer to the most suitable dentist for a diagnostic visit) and understand the patient's hygiene gaps to instruct and correct them as best as possible.

Once the patient has understood any corrections to be made, we must go physically to remove plaque, tartar and extrinsic stains from the surfaces of the teeth or prostheses using manual or mechanical instruments that with their movements can clean, polish, and disinfect oral structures. The hygiene session is never painful! It can be slightly annoying when there are abundant plaque accumulations caused by hygiene appointments too far apart or poor home hygiene manual dexterity of the patient. In this case, we can still take advantage of using specific mouthwashes, local anesthetics, or nitrous oxide... ZERO FEAR OF THE DENTIST!

**Find out here how to book oral hygiene with Dr. Gambino**


When we do not have professional hygiene for a long time or do not remove plaque daily with a toothbrush, there is an increase in the number and change in the "quality" of bacteria present in the mouth. These are detected by our immune system and the defense mechanism of inflammation is activated, which, if not promptly treated, can lead to gingivitis and if it persists over time becomes periodontitis.


The only way to prevent tartar formation is proper oral hygiene by removing bacterial plaque daily. Cleaning the oral surfaces should occur about 15 minutes after the end of each meal (to give time for saliva to restore the correct pH of the mouth).

After applying a small amount of toothpaste to the bristles of our toothbrush (about the size of a grain of rice) and with light pressure, perform rolling movements from the gum towards the center of the mouth for about 2-3 minutes to touch all the surfaces of the tooth (both vestibular and oral). It is very important to use dental floss to remove food residues and plaque deposited between the teeth, to be used always but with particular dedication in the evening before going to bed.

However, it must be said that, despite our skill and dedication, we may always find small accumulations of tartar located, for example, in crowded teeth or very posterior teeth (such as wisdom teeth). We must not be discouraged, but simply pay more attention to small spaces!


Manual or electric toothbrush? Soft, medium, or hard bristles? There is no perfect toothbrush, there is the most suitable toothbrush for us.

During a professional hygiene session, after evaluating the patient's manual dexterity and the type of dental anatomy, a more precise answer to these questions can be given.

Normally, I recommend using toothbrushes with soft bristles and very dense, without rubber inserts and with anatomical handles for a firm and precise grip. The friction of the bristles on the tooth determines the removal of plaque, which is why toothbrushes with many bristles are the best. However, it is very important not to exert excessive force that would cause premature enamel wear and gingival recession.

Generally, if the same toothbrush is used daily, it should be replaced every maximum of 3 months; for this reason, I recommend eco-friendly toothbrushes. Finding one that encompassed all the characteristics I wanted was not easy, they always had something that was not right, until I tried the Promis line and I am not just talking about toothbrushes but also toothpastes and periodontal gels.

The head of a promis toothbrush is very small (about 1cm) and allows you to touch the entire tooth, even the most hidden surfaces! It contains 6750 soft, dense, and thick bristles, properly fixed to a handle made of bioplastic shaped to have an anatomical grip that fits the person's hand. The toothpastes and periodontal gels are naturally based and contain 6 different herbs (Eucalyptus, rosemary, bergamot, tea tree, mint, and neem) enclosed in a tube made of sugar cane to dispose of everything in the most ecological way possible.

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