Get Adobe Flash player

Why do I always get “build-up” behind my front lower teeth?

You may find that every time you visit the dentist for your regular check-up, you are told that you have build-up behind your lower front teeth. Don’t worry, this is very common. This hard build-up is referred to as calculus (also known as tartar). Plaque is the soft, furry build-up that develops on the teeth, but when it isn’t removed effectively, natural proteins in the saliva cause it to calcify (harden). Once it reaches this stage your toothbrush will not get it off. This is why it is important to remove it while it is at the soft plaque stage.

So why does calculus build-up behind your lower front teeth? Firstly, this area is a difficult spot to clean, especially if the head of your toothbrush is bulky. It is very easy to skim over, leaving plaque behind. Also, there are saliva ducts present on the floor of the mouth, adjacent to these teeth, so saliva is continually bathing this area. Therefore, if there is plaque present behind these teeth, the proteins in the saliva can cause it to calcify very quickly. So while it is important to brush and floss ALL of the teeth thoroughly, spending a little more time in this area will help to reduce the amount of calculus build-up you get, and will lessen the time you spend having your teeth cleaned (scaled) at your regular dental check-ups. For more tips on tooth brushing and flossing click here.