In this article, we characterize in terms of analytic tableaux the repairs of inconsistent relational databases, that is databases that do not satisfy a given set of integrity constraints. For this purpose we provide closing and opening criteria for branches in tableaux that are built for database instances and their integrity constraints. We use the tableaux based characterization as a basis for consistent query answering, that is for retrieving from the database answers to queries that are consistent wrt the integrity constraints.