Category Archives: Preventative Dentistry

Yellow build up

I have this yellow stuff that keeps covering my teeth. I can kind of get some of it off, but wondered what it is. It keeps getting worse. Can I do anything about it?

Wanda G.- Florida


The yellow build up is called calculus or tartar. It builds up on our teeth because our saliva has minerals in it. The minerals build up in the form of calculus. When we can see the build up, as in your case, it is then called tartar. It is easily treated by getting your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. If left untreated, it is very bad for your teeth. It will lead to gum disease that will eventually cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, which in turn will cause your teeth to get loose and fall out.

It sounds to me, though I realize this is just an assumption, that you haven’t had your teeth professionally cleaned in a while. There are many reasons that people do that. Sometimes it is financial, and sometimes it is because of fear that the visit will be painful. If the former, you can call around for a dentist that is willing to let you pay out your visit over time. Or, you may see if there is a dental school in your area. If so, they generally do cleanings for a very small fee.  If your case is the latter, that is easily solved by going to a sedation dentist. With sedation dentistry, you will feel no pain at all during your visit.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.

I have a problem with bad breath

I have an ongoing problem with bad breath. It seems that I often have a bad smell, even when I brush daily. Do you have any recommendations that could help me out?

~Bobby in Tennessee


Bad breath is a common problem and there are many possible reasons for it. Even though you brush, a bad smell in your mouth is usually caused by bacteria.

Keep up with brushing your teeth. But I would also be sure to floss your teeth on a daily basis. If you are still having issues then you can purchase a tongue cleaner.

There are some popular products on the market to help with bad breath. You could give BreathRx a try. You can find it at many stores or by contacting your dentist.  Also, there are special rinses and toothpastes that are very powerful.

Routine preventative dental care will also help with any buildup that has accumulated on your teeth. We recommend visiting the dentist twice a year to have your teeth professionally cleaned. Don’t put off going to the dentist. It can be a comfortable experience. We are a Lafayette dentist with in-room televisions and massage chairs that make for an overall welcoming atmosphere.

Good luck.

What is this yellow build-up?

I have been noticing a yellow build-up on my lower teeth. It is very difficult to remove. When I do try to remove it it seems like I don’t have much tooth left. Can you tell me what is happening? Is there anything I can do to avoid this?

Tara from Texas

Dear Tara,

From what you have described, it sounds like it may have been some time since you have been into the dentist for a teeth cleaning. The yellow build-up is calculus or tarter. Your saliva naturally contains minerals. What is happening is that the minerals gradually stick to your teeth and build up. The substance that builds up is called calculus and it is called tarter when it has built up enough that you can see it.

This is such a gradual process that many get used to seeing it. When it is cleaned off it may even feel strange. Some have described that it feels like there are actually gaps between their teeth or even that part of their tooth is gone.

This condition can be very damaging to your gums. It can lead to gum disease and if left untreated, it can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. The teeth will become loose and can fall out. Once you get to the point where the teeth are loose it may be too late to save them. This is one of the many reasons we highly recommend that you have your teeth cleaned twice a year, every six months. Routine services can help prevent gum disease. If you are prone to gum disease, it may be advantageous to have your teeth cleaned more frequently.

If you are anxious about getting your teeth cleaned, there are many gentle dentistry techniques. Sedation dentistry is also an option, if you are overly nervous or scared of the dentist. Regular cleanings and preventive care will save keep your teeth and gums healthy, saving you money on expensive procedures in the future.