How To Remove Tartar From Teeth Without Dentist – The Truth

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

The only way to get rid of tartar from your teeth without a dentist is by using dental scalers. That is assuming you’re able to procure them and then know how to use them.

Due to the difficulty in obtaining the scalers and the lack of knowledge in using them, we do not recommend removing calculus at home. You may end up doing more harm than good.

In case you were wondering, there is no other home remedy which can get rid of tartar. All of the proposed remedies are ineffective and we’ll prove it to you.

How to remove tartar at home

The only way to effectively remove tartar without the help of a dentist is by using dental scalers. These are very sharp stainless steel instruments that can cut into the calculus and get rid of them altogether.

dental scaler

How to do it:

  1. Scale the cheek side of teeth. Start with the distal surface and then work your way towards the mid buccal. Finally finish with the mesial surface.
  2. Scale the tongue side of teeth. Clean the teeth in the same order as the cheek side.
  3. Repeat for each tooth.

Here is a video demonstrating how to use a sickle scaler to remove tartar on a mannequin.

How to use sickle scaler on a typodont (fake teeth model)

As you can see in the video, the sharp edges of this dental instrument can scrape off the build up on the teeth. That is literally the only way to do it. All other oral hygiene tools are NOT sharp enough to cut through the hard build up and remove them.

Instruments that work

  • Dental scalers
  • Ultrasonic scalers

Products that don’t work

  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Water flosser
  • Toothpick
  • Interproximal brushes

Doing it at home is NOT recommended

We do not recommend attempting to remove tartar at home with scalers because you most likely don’t know what you’re doing. Then there is also the fact of, how would you even procure dental instruments without a license?

Lack of knowledge

Dentists and dental hygienists undergo additional years of schooling in order to learn how to clean teeth properly. You don’t just know how to remove plaque and tartar without any training. Essentially if you attempt to scale your own teeth you are more likely to hurt yourself rather than help your teeth.

Potential risks:

  • Injure your gums since the scalers are sharp.
  • Dislodge fillings
  • Break or pop off a veneer

Unable to obtain scalers

Dental supply companies will not sell you dental equipment without a valid license. That in itself makes it incredibly difficult for you to even acquire it and use it.

We are aware that there are black market options like ebay but who knows what they are made of. Is it even medical grade material?

M11 ultraclave - dental instrument sterilizer
M11 ultraclave – dental instrument sterilizer

Last but not least, you also have to remember that equipment should be sterilized after each use. Dental offices use an autoclave which sterilizes the scalers after each patient.

How would you sterilize yours after the first use? Are you just going to leave the bacteria on there and use it on your teeth each subsequent time? Hopefully not.

Alternative home remedies for tartar removal

Unfortunately, all of the touted home remedies which allege they can remove tartar are all ineffective. In other words, none of them work.

Tartar removal home remedies which don’t work:

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Flossing regularly
  • Tartar control toothpaste
  • Natural remedies – white vinegar, aloe vera, baking soda, orange peels, guava fruit leaves, sesame seeds, spicy foods, vitamin C rich foods

Why they don’t work

All of the calculus removal home remedies listed above don’t work for tartar but they can remove plaque instead.

The reason they don’t work is because the tartar is highly calcified and incredibly hard. That makes them immune to brushing, flossing, and whatever you’ll throw at them. It is only vulnerable to sharp dental scalers which can cut them off your teeth.

Plaque on the other hand is very soft and can be easily removed by brushing gently with a soft toothbrush. In fact it is so soft that rinsing your mouth can remove them. However, if you let that plaque turn into tartar, it won’t come off anymore.

Can you dissolve the calcium build up?

There has been claims about using white vinegar to dissolve the tartar but that is utterly false. If it worked, your dentist would spray vinegar at your teeth during the cleaning instead of regular water. They also wouldn’t waste their finger and wrist strength on scraping off the build up if it could come off easily via dissolution. They don’t do this because it doesn’t work.

Proper way to remove calculus from teeth

The best way to remove tartar is to get a professional dental cleaning from a dentist or hygienist. They have all of the necessary scalers and equipment to get the job done. They also have all of the training and knowledge to help your teeth rather than harm them.

What to expect during a teeth cleaning:

  1. Oral examination before you begin to survey the mouth.
  2. Gross debridement with an ultrasonic scaler. It vibrates very quickly and sprays water.
  3. Hand scaling to remove residual tartar that may have been missed.
  4. Review oral hygiene instructions such as brushing and flossing techniques.

Without the proper instruments and equipment, it is nearly impossible to get the calcified tartar off of your teeth. There is simply no way around it.

Prevention trumps treatment

While calculus may be near impossible to remove, plaque on the other hand can be easily removed. Plaque is a soft sticky biofilm that is full of bacteria which adheres to your teeth.

The good news is that plaque can be brushed off with a soft toothbrush using gentle brushing motions. The bad news is that if you don’t get it off before going to bed, it can calcify into hard tartar. Once it does, you will need to see a dentist to get it off.

Therefore, tartar can be easily prevented as long as you remember to brush for two minutes at night time and floss thoroughly. If you do so you may never get tartar and you wouldn’t even have to think about how to get rid of calculus at home!


While you can remove calculus from your teeth at home without the dentist, the risks involved are too great to ignore. You may do more harm than good and that would defeat the purpose.

Therefore it is our opinion that some things are better left to the professionals such as removing tartar yourself and cutting your own hair. You’ll end up with a better and cleaner result if you simply let someone else pamper you.


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A lot of nuances cannot be detected without an in-person clinical exam, which means it is near impossible to diagnose and treat virtually.

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