General Question

Violet's avatar

What causes tartar build up on teeth?

Asked by Violet (6574points) February 25th, 2010

The dental assistant and I were stumped today during my visit. I take great care of my teeth, and she knows that.
I’ve been driving a lot of Sprite Zero, which has Phenylketonurics (aspartame, an artificial sweetener).
Could that cause tartar build up?
If not, what causes tartar build up?

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14 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

It is a hardened form of dental plaque (a biofilm produced by bacteria in the mouth) caused by the continual accumulation of minerals from saliva on plaque on the teeth.

Violet's avatar

@Lightlyseared and what causes that?

lilikoi's avatar

You should’ve asked your dentist for a better explanation while you were there.

Bacteria eat sugar so yes, drinking soda or eating anything with sugar will provide food for bacteria to multiply. They form plaque. When that sits around for a while, it eventually hardens to form tartar.

The back of your lower front teeth can be prone to plaque development because there are salivary glands near them.

I’ve been told by dentists that some people are just prone to plaque development while others are not.

Violet's avatar

She did explain this all to me. We just couldn’t figure out why all of the sudden it was happening (like elevated salivary pH, heightened concentration of calcium in the saliva, increased bacterial protein and lipid concentration, increased concentration of protein and urea in submandibular salivary glands)
And there isn’t any sugar in my soda.

loser's avatar

Not flossing.

Cruiser's avatar

Eat Cap’n Crunch, that stuff is like sand blasting your teeth. Eat a handful a day and you will never have to floss again.

dpworkin's avatar

It precipitates out of your saliva, so if you are holding saliva in a portion of your mouth (generally, near the bottom incisors) you will get more plaque in that are, no matter how much you brush and floss. There is also a genetic component to your propensity to form plaque.

CMaz's avatar


trailsillustrated's avatar

its your body ph. a more acidic ph will have less build up more of a propensity for tooth decay- an alkaline ph will have lots of build up but low tooth decay. don’t worry about it. get your teeth cleaned regularly maybe

neverawake's avatar

when you don’t brush daily, drinking coffee constantly, and a lot of other things.

phil196662's avatar

@Violet… aspartame, asuflame, sucrolose is sugar! and changes the ph in your mouth and can contribute to plaque.

Check your diet too, are you eating your dark green leafies and enough whole grains? Go to your doctor and get a blood test and see if anythings changed to cause your plaque.

Remember, finger nails, teeth, skin and hair all tell a story of boy health and if this happened recently it might be worth checking into with your doctor!

Shuttle128's avatar

@phil196662 All of those artificial sweeteners are very not sugar. None are metabolized like sugar (which is one of the main reasons they exist in the first place). Even if most of the structure of sucralose is similar to sucrose, it is not the same because hydroxides are replaced with chlorine. The sweeteners behave very similarly to sucrose but none act exactly the same whatsoever. In fact most sweeteners are several hundred times more sweet than sucrose itself.

phil196662's avatar

And what’s that caustic work you used.. chlorine… ahhh- clean out the insides! I simply use moderation and eat the real stuff- we still don’t know the long range effects and if they are contributing to any diseases or ailments.

Shuttle128's avatar

Well, your body actually needs chlorine. You ingest chlorine any time you eat something seasoned with salt.

I don’t particularly like the taste of artificial sweeteners and would rather eat real sugar in moderation anyway. There’s no indication yet that artificial sweeteners cause any long-term harm though (that is unless you have phenylketonuria).

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