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Protect Your Teeth from Dental Tartar

Most likely, you’ve been drilled (pardon the pun) on the health benefits of brushing and flossing your teeth every day, but do you know why it’s so important? Practicing good dental hygiene removes plaque from your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into a substance called dental tartar, which can cause serious problems for your oral health.

Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is a common problem. One study found that it affects 92% of Americans, putting them at risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Let’s take a closer look at how to protect your teeth and gums.

What Causes Tartar?

The problem begins with plaque, a sticky substance that can range from clear to pale yellow. Plaque is created when the bacteria in your mouth combine with proteins and food particles. These bacteria produce acids that attack your tooth enamel and gums, creating cavities and other oral health issues.

If plaque is not removed, it can combine with minerals from your saliva to create tartar. It can take as little as 24 hours for this to happen. Dental tartar builds up both above and below your gum line. The bacteria it contains can cause irritation and damage to your gums.

Effects of Dental Tartar

Untreated dental tartar can lead to gum disease, including:

  • Gingivitis: An inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling, bleeding and bad breath. This is usually the first stage of gum disease.
  • Periodontitis: A more serious infection that can occur if gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontitis creates pockets of space between gums and teeth that can become infected.
  • Tooth loss: Over time, diseased teeth and the connective tissue that holds them in place are destroyed, which leads to tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease isn’t just bad for your teeth. It may also be linked to heart disease, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

Protect Your Oral Health

Once dental tartar forms, you won’t be able to remove it on your own. Because it bonds to the enamel of your teeth, it requires a professional cleaning to remove. Your best bet is to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth and gums, so it won’t be able to form tartar.

The best ways to protect your teeth from plaque are:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes. Make sure you’re brushing along your gum line, and don’t forget the hard-to-reach places like behind your molars. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Floss between your teeth at least twice a day. If flossing is difficult or uncomfortable for you, you may prefer to use a water flosser or dental water jet.
  • Avoid sugary sodas and candy. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which feeds the bacteria that lead to plaque.
  • Visit your dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year. If you’re in a high-risk group for dental problems, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits. People at a higher risk include smokers and people with conditions like chronic dry mouth or diabetes.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash once a day.

Taking a few simple steps every day can help protect your teeth and gums from serious issues. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions about the best dental practices for your teeth.

World-Class Dental Care At LifeSmiles by Dr. Randy Mitchmore, we help our patients maintain bright and healthy smiles. Whether you need a routine cleaning or dental implant solutions for missing teeth, we’ll walk you through the best options inside an anxiety-free, non-judgmental atmosphere. Our expertise and the latest technology offers options for healthier teeth and gums. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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Sally May-Frankum
Dental Hygienist

Sally’s favorite part about working with the team at LifeSmiles is the fun she has with her co-workers. Additionally, she appreciates working with Dr. Randy Mitchmore because much like her, he values whole-body health for his patients. She’s proud to be part of a team that does such high quality work.

Outside of the office: Sally enjoys being with her children and grandchildren and uses writing as a creative outlet. On the weekends, she can be found doing all things outdoors including hiking and biking.


Bucket List: Going to Europe, exploring every US state, and zip-lining.

Hero: The Highest Power of them all!

Toni Wilson
Queen of Charisma

 “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”

Toni’s favorite thing about working at LifeSmiles is the beautiful scenery. When patients are having anxiety about their dental appointments, she creates a fearless atmosphere with her charisma and warmth. She is passionate about helping every patient achieve their dental health goals. She says she truly loves being part of a team where she can grow professionally and personally.

Outside the office: Toni loves spending time with her husband and their sons. She also likes to show off her green thumb with her work in her garden.

Bucket list item:
Travel around the world and learn about other cultures and regions.

Your hero: Harriet Tubman because she was passionate and a fearless leader unafraid of any of life’s challenges.

Mike Mireles
Elite Care and Education Specialist

Smiling is contagious

Mike began his career at LifeSmiles seeking an opportunity to expand his skillset and advance his career. Today he works at Dr. Michmore’s side through dental procedures and surgeries. He loves working at LifeSmiles because the entire team is continually learning and keeping up to date with the newest advancements in dentistry.

Outside the office: Mike enjoys barbecuing on his patio, traveling, and spending time with his family. He’s a dog dad of two: Tati and Tito.

Bucket list item:
To visit Thailand and Dubai and to try skydiving!

Your hero: Mike looks up to his parents and is forever grateful for the life lesson they taught him; respect, manners, strength, and to be a go-getter. He continues to carry these things with him with everything he does.

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Sandra Smith

Sandra is 44 years old and is a star athlete for the Special Olympics. At LifeSmiles, Sandra stocks patient rooms and the coffee bar. She does all kinds of special projects like decorating for holidays and preparing awesome gifts for our patients.

Sandra loves being around all her friends and is proud to wear a LifeSmiles shirt, jacket, and name badge. You’ll always find her smiling and helping make our patients smile too.

Outside the Office: Sandra likes to go fishing with her family, swim, go to dances, and walk the mall with her friends. She is very active in the Special Olympics and won second place in the state volleyball tournament (go, Sandra!) in 2020. She sings in her church choir and attends international performances with them.

Spirit Animal: Butterfly. She likes them because they are pretty.

Andie Willis
Director of Details

Andie is married with one son, Logan and now lives in The Woodlands. She grew up in Sugar Land and has followed in her mother’s footsteps – she has been in dentistry for over 35 years. Andie actually started out working in the office with her mom and learned many things from the way she worked.

Andie has been a Lead Dental Assistant for most of her career. She has worked for many specialists including oral surgeons and periodontists. She has extensive training in all facets of dentistry but especially enjoys the surgical and cosmetic side. As a science nerd, dentistry fascinates Andie and gives her a sense of accomplishment.

At LifeSmiles, she is our “Director of Details”. Andie is known for being a perfectionist because she likes to gather as much information as possible and go the extra mile to match Dr. Mitchmore’s high standards. She truly loves being part of our dedicated team of professionals who go above and beyond for our amazing patients.

Outside of the Office: Andie is addicted to Lagree fitness and loves to go off-shore fishing.

Your Hero: Her Mom. She is the most selfless person Andie knows.

John Copous
Chief Enthusiasm Officer

John became a new patient of LifeSmiles in 2008. He likes to tell people he was not allowed to leave. John worked down the street for 14 years before joining the team. He has a passion for meeting new people and extending genuine hospitality.

Often the first person people meet on the phone and when they walk in the door, you can count on John for a warm welcoming smile. You can even ‘hear’ it over the phone. He says, “I believe everyone deserves the red carpet treatment and love seeing other people smile.”

John hears stories every day how someone’s smile is holding them back. He can barely contain his excitement when shouting the praises of Dr. Mitchmore and the entire team. He shares passionate stories of how the transformations people have received at LifeSmiles, changed their lives.

Outside the Office: John loves being outside. He enjoys sharing a beach house with friends and family. He loves entertaining, throwing a party and cooking at home. He can start a conversation with anyone, anywhere. He’s an amateur stand-up comic.

Bucket List Item: To live in a foreign country for one year, somewhere near the beach. Take some time to write an epic love novel loosely based on my large Italian family.

Your Hero: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. While fictional, the character incorporates admirable qualities from real life people. She believes in the goodness of everyone, keeps on going and moves forward despite any obstacle. She is able to find humor in other people’s quirks, accepts them and makes sense of it all. Plus, she’s a little outrageous too.