Tartar control toothpaste does not remove tartar. It must be removed by professional cleaning. Plaque is the soft yellowish film that forms on your teeth and can be brushed away with toothpaste. Tartar, however, is calcified plaque and can not be removed with simple tooth brushing. Tartar control toothpaste can help prevent tartar from forming above the gumline with the help of active ingredients like pyrophosphates. It is important to remove plaque daily to keep the minerals in your saliva from causing it to harden.
Many people believe that baking soda in toothpaste prevents tartar. It is a mild abrasive and can help remove stain. Companies now offer whitening toothpastes that they advertise lighten teeth. However, many toothpastes that make this claim do not actually contain any whitening ingredients such as peroxide. Like baking soda products, they simply contain abrasive material that removes surface stain, causing the teeth to appear whiter. It is important to make this distinction because some toothpastes, do in fact contain peroxide and will directly whiten the enamel. The concentration of peroxide in toothpaste is generally not enough to bleach your teeth and does not remain in the your mouth long enough to have any significant effect.
It is important to note there is no evidence that baking soda or peroxide prevents gum disease, which is vital to oral health. You should use these abrasive and peroxide-containing products carefully because they can lead to sensitivity as the top layer of enamel is removed. This effect can also be exacerbated by aggressive brushing. When searching for a toothpaste, always look to see that it has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) and check the ingredients for peroxide if it promises to whiten teeth.