Calculus and Teeth Whitening for Smokers (No, It's Not Maths)

Posted on: 22 August 2018

Do you grit your teeth at the thought of calculus? While memories of maths lessons at school are not something that everyone thinks of fondly, there is a type of calculus that directly affects your teeth. In terms of dentistry, calculus (which is also known as tartar) is the accumulation of hardened plaque on your teeth. While untreated calculus can be detrimental to your dental health, it also presents an issue in term of the aesthetics of your teeth. This is particularly true if you're a smoker who wants to whiten your teeth. Why is the case?

Nicotine and Teeth

Prolonged exposure to nicotine has the ability to stain teeth, leading to a perceptible yellowing of your dental enamel. Any calculus on your teeth is also porous, and since it has gradually formed, its degree of staining is going to be a different shade to that of the rest of your teeth, as its exposure to the staining properties of nicotine has occurred at a different rate. This results in a two-toned effect on the teeth of many smokers who are affected by dental calculus. It can be particularly prominent when you have supragingival calculus, which is above the gumline. This means that it can appear as though a strip along the edge of a tooth has a noticeably different colour than the rest of the tooth. But how does this affect your whitening?

A Two-Toned Result

While a home teeth whitening kit is going to yield some results, the two-toned effect can remain due to the presence of the dental calculus. Any whitening is likely to be unsatisfactory until such time as the calculus has been removed. This simply requires a visit to your dentist. The hardened plaque will be removed by scaling the teeth, which is a gentle scraping which doesn't compromise the underlying dental enamel. Regardless of whether you want to whiten your teeth, it's important to remove calculus buildup before it can develop into something more serious.

After Calculus Removal

Once the calculus has been removed, any whitening treatment is going to result in a more consistent end result. You have the option to have your dentist perform teeth whitening or use a home kit. In order to prevent the issue from returning, you should have a word with your dentist about your oral hygiene habits and what might have led to the accumulation of dental calculus in the first place.

While dental calculus can potentially affect anyone's teeth, the results can be more obvious when you're a smoker.


Looking younger and fresher

No one ever comes in asking to look older. When they want make an actor look old in a movie they do a few subtle things to age their face, like lighten their eyebrows and yellow up their teeth. That's because the signs of aging don't just affect your skin, they also show in your mouth. A natural bright smile leaves you looking and feeling younger. Cosmetic dentistry is a great way to naturally look younger without painful plastic surgery. If you are looking at getting some cosmetic dentistry this site has great articles about teeth whitening, veneers and other cosmetic procedures.