Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless, substance that builds up around the gum line. It is made up of food particles and saliva. Plaque can easily be removed with daily tooth brushing, rinsing and oil pulling. If it is left unattended, it develops into tartar.
Tartar is yellow, hard and crusty. It can lead to bacteria growth and cavity formation. It is usually removed by scaling by dentist.
Ayurvedic literature explain this condition as Danta sharkara, as the appearance is similar to the sugar coating over the teeth with granular shape.
According to Acharya Vagbhata, the dantamala (blemishes over the teeth) is dried by the vata and it takes the shape of thick adherence like the sugar gravels and hence Danta sharkara is manifested.
Causes for Tartar (Danta sharkara)
Poor dental health
Remaining without flossing after each food
Carbohydrate rich food
Excess intake of eatables like candy, cookies and other sweet things, bread, cereal, potatoes, corn etc
Clinical presentations of Tartar (Danta sharkara)
Yellow or white thick adherence over the teeth
Rough or dry adherence
Foul smell of mouth etc
Line of treatment for Tartar (Danta sharkara)
Removal of tartar by avoiding injury to the root of the teeth is the first line of treatment.
Flossing, proper tooth brushing, oral rinsing and regular oil pulling helps to get rid of the plaque efficiently. This prevents the formation of tartar.
Ayurvedic formulations useful in treating Plaque and Tartar (Danta sharkara)
Oral Ayurvedic medicines are administered as part of internal cleansing and detoxification. They also help in relieving gum pain and swelling.
For gargling/retention in the mouth –
Kwhara taila with salt.
Ayurvedic home remedies
Few home remedies for tooth plaque and Tartar (Danta sharkara)
- The herbs nutmeg (Jatiphala), Triphala (Hareetaki, Vibheetaki and Amalaki) and Saindhava lavana are made into fine powder and rubbed well to the teeth. This helps to clear the tartar.
- The herbs – ginger, long pepper and black pepper are made into fine powder. Burnt in open air into ashes. To this, little salt is added and mixed well. This is used for brushing the teeth. If gum bleeding is there, turmeric powder is added to this mix, while brushing.
Do’s and dont’s
Do’s and Don’ts in dental plaque and Tartar (Danta sharkara)|
Green tea, regular brushing, intake of easily digestible and less fat and carbohydrate food will help to prevent the formation of tartar. Instead, sugar rich food, smoking habits, hard food, non vegetarian diet and unhygienic mouth will lead and worsen the complaint of tartar and dental plaques.
Some believe that plaque and tartar protect the teeth from injuries which is not correct. Constant negligence of tartar may cause tooth decay and various gum diseases. So immediate attention should be given and preventive measures are to be adopted.
Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu)
Consult Dr Krishnamurthy by email.