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Calcium Deposits on Teeth - Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

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Continuous ignorance of oral hygiene over a while results in the deposition of a calcified layer over teeth. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At June 10, 2022
Reviewed AtAugust 31, 2023

Introduction

Calcium is an actively present mineral that the body demands to perform various functions. A significant portion of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Though calcium is always a needed mineral, its deposition in body parts can sometimes become bothersome. While in some organs, it happens due to defects in the body mechanism; its deposition in teeth is mere ignorance. Failure to maintain proper oral hygiene results in calcification (the process in which calcium builds up in a tissue) of the junk that deposits after every meal, forming calcium deposits, which are commonly called tartar or calculus.

What Is Plaque?

When the person does not clean the mouth, a sticky layer that constantly keeps forming on the tooth surface after an intake of a solid or a liquid diet is dental plaque. Plaque is usually loaded with a vast number of bacteria. If plaque is not removed from the tooth surface immediately, it keeps repeatedly depositing, forming calcifications that become hard and difficult to remove using a toothbrush or at home.

What Are the Calcium Deposits on Teeth?

When the plaque on the tooth surface hardens, it results in calcium deposits commonly called tartar or calculus (calcified plaque). In other words, the hard calcified layer that gets deposited on the tooth surface after oral hygiene is not taken care of over a certain period. It usually deposits more in inaccessible areas between and behind the teeth. Calculus can be seen above the gums (supragingival) and under the gingiva (subgingival).

What Are the Causes of Calcium Deposits In Teeth?

The common causes of calculus are;

  • Poor oral hygiene.

  • Improper brushing technique, brushing using minimal pressure, brushing for a lesser period than advised, using a wrong toothbrush, or improper flossing.

  • Crowded or irregularly arranged teeth.

  • In people with a dry mouth due to an underlying medical condition or as a side effect of the medication, the saliva does not effectively clean the food debris, which leads to plaque buildup followed by calculus formation.

  • Consuming sticky or sugary food more frequently.

  • Habits like smoking and tobacco chewing do not support maintaining proper oral hygiene.

What Is Hypo Calcification?

Hypocalcification is a condition where the enamel of the tooth will have a reduced amount of calcium, where the enamel still covers the tooth surface but is very thin, weak, and gives a chalky or opaque appearance. Without a proper layer of enamel, teeth are highly prone to decay. Hypocalcification is seen in babies as well as in adults, which is caused due to defects in the formation of ameloblast cells which are very sensitive cells. Ameloblast produces proteins that form the enamel of the tooth. Hypocalcification is related to:

  • Genetic: Amelogenesis imperfecta is a genetic condition that is a rare disorder that affects the enamel which results in hypo calcification.

  • Illness or Trauma: Hypocalcification also occurs when the expectant mother experiences a high fever during pregnancy or due to difficult birth.

  • Some Disorders: People who suffer from asthma and epilepsy have a higher risk of enamel defects than others.

  • Fluoride: Dental fluorosis or excessive ingestion of fluoride results in spotted and mottled teeth.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Calcium Deposition?

The common symptoms that occur initially include:

  • Yellowish to chalky white deposits are present along the gum line, between the teeth, and on surfaces.

  • The tooth surface has irregularities when touched or felt with the tongue.

  • Red and swollen gums, and bleeding on brushing, indicate that the calculus has started irritating the gums.

  • Bad breath.

  • Collection of pus between teeth.

  • Gums become tender and painful.

  • Though any tooth can have calculus, the teeth that are more prone to calculus and suffer damage due to the lower anterior teeth (lower incisors). Even when there is calculus in every tooth, the lower anterior teeth accumulate more calculus than the others.

What Damage Do Calcium Deposits Cause to Teeth?

When the deposits become severe, they damage the tooth and the gums in various ways.

The problems encountered by teeth due to these calcium deposits are decay, gum diseases, infection in both teeth and gums, receding gum levels, and more.

  • Decay: When the calculus in a particular tooth becomes severe and is ignored, bacteria that have harmonized for a longer time initiate a dental decay that progresses until proper treatment is sought. If left unmanaged, it ends up causing pain and infection.

  • Gum Diseases: Calculus is one of the major causes of gum problems. The deposited calculus fills the space normally present between the tooth and the gums (gingival sulcus) and keeps impinging the gums, leading to inflammation. The gum inflammation manifests as redness, mild swelling, discomfort, pain, and bleeding while brushing. When the gum disease progresses deeper, it can even lead to tooth loss, or mobile teeth.

How to Prevent Calcium Deposits in Teeth?

The ways to prevent calcium deposits on teeth include;

  • Brushing and flossing teeth to maintain proper oral hygiene.

  • Make sure to follow an appropriate brushing technique and use appropriate dental cleaning aids.

  • Use fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

  • Rinsing the mouth after every meal without fail.

  • Take extra care in maintaining oral hygiene if the tooth is crowded or irregularly aligned teeth.

  • People should be mindful of what they eat, and minimize the intake of sticky foods and foods that are bad for teeth.

  • Avoid habits such as chewing tobacco and smoking.

  • Pay a visit to the dentist's office once in six months or a year.

Can Calcium Deposits Be Removed at Home?

  • Calcium deposits or calculus are hard and tightly adhered to the tooth surface and can be removed only by a professional.

  • Self-removal of calculus using toothbrushes is not possible. At the same time, plaque goes away with normal brushing. Also, plaque removal as and when it forms prevents calculus from depositing onto the tooth surface.

How Are Calcium Deposits Removed From Teeth?

  • Scaling (professional cleaning) effectively removes plaque and tartar from the tooth surface. Scaling is usually done using an ultrasonic instrument called the scaler, which comes with a water spray. The water that gets accumulated is simultaneously removed using a suction device. Also, bleeding is normal during scaling; the intensity varies with how deep the calculus is, the bleeding scale, and more.

  • When the deposits are deeper in the gums, normal scaling is accompanied by a root planing procedure that uses different instruments to remove calculus from deep inside the gums.

  • Laser treatments and minor gum surgeries are done along with professional cleaning when the deposits have affected the gums.

  • In cases of decay caused due to calculus, minor fillings to a root canal might be indicated depending upon its severity.

Conclusion

People often fail to realize they have calculus, and even if they do, they are not aware that the cause is, ignored oral hygiene. Bleeding while brushing is a major indicator that the gums have started taking the downfall from accumulating calculus. Also, preventing calculus is not rocket science; demands an extra minute in maintaining hygiene. Providing that extra minute in maintaining the oral cavity can free the person from calculus and its following damages.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How Are the Calcium Deposits on Teeth Removed?

Calcium deposits on teeth can be removed by a professional cleaning procedure called scaling, which is performed by a dentist or dental hygienist.

2.

What Are the Causes of Calcium Deposition on Teeth?

Calcium deposition on teeth can occur due to the following factors;
- Poor oral hygiene due to lack of brushing or following improper brushing techniques.
- Crowded or irregularly arranged teeth that make brushing a difficult task to perform.
- Dry mouth caused by certain medications or underlying medical conditions that make the mouth dry and sticky.
- Intake of many sugary, sticky foods frequently that are hard to remove off teeth.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption.

3.

Will the Calcium Spots on Teeth Go Away on Their Own, or Can It Be Removed at Home?

No, the calcium depositions on the teeth are hard in consistency and hence do not go away on their own. They cannot be removed at home by brushing or following any other personal oral hygiene procedures. Calcium deposits can be removed efficiently only by a dental professional.

4.

Is It Possible to Reverse the Calcifications Present on Teeth?

Yes, after the professional removes the calcium deposits, the teeth go back to their original state unless the deposition has progressed deeper into the tooth roots, which could damage the gums around the teeth.

5.

What Are the Hard White Calcifications Present on Teeth?

The hard white calcifications that are present on teeth are called tartar or calculus. These calcified deposits can form above or below the gum line and can cause damages to the teeth as well as the gums around them.

6.

What Could Go Wrong if Calcium Deposits on Teeth Are Not Removed?

The calcium deposits existing on teeth for a long period can cause much damage to the teeth and the gums surrounding them, such as;
Gingival damages such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (progression of the gum inflammation to the supporting structures of teeth such as periodontium and bones).
- Tooth decay.
- Tooth infection.

7.

How Does a Dentist Remove the Calcium Deposits on Teeth?

The calcium deposits on teeth are removed by a dental professional at a dental clinic through a procedure called scaling. Scaling or professional cleaning is performed using hand instruments or ultrasonic scalers.

8.

Is It Possible to Remove Plaque by Brushing?

Yes, dental plaque can be removed by brushing, whereas dental calculus cannot be removed likewise.

9.

What Are the Causes of White Spots on a Toddler’s Teeth?

White spots on a toddler’s teeth usually denote that the toddler has been exposed to excess fluoride than the required levels. This condition is referred to as dental fluorosis.

10.

Will White Spots on a Toddler’s Teeth Go Away on Their Own?

No, the white spots caused on a toddler's teeth due to fluorosis will not go away on their own. They are either left as it is if they are not esthetically displeasing or treated by a professional.

11.

Why Do White Spots Appear on Teeth After Braces Treatment?

Acids are used on the tooth surface for bonding purposes of the braces; these acids can cause dissolutions of minerals such as calcium present on the enamel, which end up leaving chalky white spots on the teeth surface after the braces are removed.
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Dr. Liana J X Beatrice
Dr. Liana J X Beatrice

Dentistry

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