You may be an excellent brusher and expert flosser, but how do you know if you’ve removed all the plaque from your teeth? The answer is: you don’t. Dental plaque is sticky, but colorless. All you can do is try to thoroughly clean your teeth and hope for the best. Unless, of course, you use a dental plaque disclosing product. Using a plaque disclosing agent is like putting your teeth under a microscope with bright spotlights. It uses a safe dye that reacts with any plaque on your teeth, showing you exactly how good you really are with your dental hygiene skills.
Who Should Use a Plaque Disclosing Product?
Anyone who wants to be a dental hygiene superstar with the cleanest possible teeth can use a plaque disclosing agent. However, those who should use it are people at an increased risk for developing gum disease. This may include people who have receding gums, where a larger portion of the teeth is exposed. Others who are at a greater risk for plaque buildup are people who wear braces and anyone with a chronic medical condition. Braces, because they cover parts of the teeth, are especially tricky to clean, so a plaque disclosing product can be especially useful in showing problem areas that you need to concentrate on.
Different Kinds of Plaque Disclosing Products
The following plaque disclosing agents are available:
- Plaque Disclosing Solution – A liquid solution that you swish around in your mouth for approximately 30 seconds before spitting out.
- Plaque Disclosing Tablet – These are chewable tablets that, when chewed, will mix with your mouth’s saliva. Tablets are available over-the-counter. They typically use a vegetable dye, which stains the plaque a bright, highly visible color, usually blue or red. Some tablets have different color dyes to indicate plaque of various ages. After chewing the tablet, swish the saliva around in your mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out.
- Plaque Disclosing Swab – Wipe the surfaces of your teeth with the swabs to show areas that contain plaque.
- Plaque Disclosing Floss – This is a colored floss that will clearly show the plaque you’ve just removed.
How to Use Plaque Disclosing Products
Before you use a plaque disclosing agent, make sure your teeth have been thoroughly brushed and flossed. The first three types of plaque disclosing products are designed to show you where you need to work harder to remove plaque. This will include hidden areas that you missed. After using the solution, tablet or swap, examine your teeth carefully to see where you still need to brush and floss. You may need to use a dental mirror with a long handle to be able to see areas deep in your mouth. The plaque disclosing floss will show you how successful you are (or aren’t) in removing plaque between your teeth.
It isn’t possible to have a dental hygienist in your bathroom, observing your actions every day as you clean your teeth. However, when you use a plaque disclosing product, you have the next best thing!