“My friend told me that her dentist recommended her using disclosing tablets, in order to help her clean her teeth better. What are they and are they useful?”
The primary aim of brushing your teeth is to clear away dental plaque. Plaque constantly forms on the teeth and is full of all those harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. So getting rid of plaque is important! How can you tell if you are doing so properly?…
In answer to your question, they are plaque-staining tablets, basically used as a visual aide. They help one determine how well they are cleaning their teeth. And yes, they can be very useful.
What Are Plaque Disclosing Tablets?
They are chewable tablets whose ingredients contain a staining dye. The dye (which is harmless!) interacts with any plaque that is in the mouth, and stains it (usually a red/purple color). As a result, any areas that have not been cleaned sufficiently will stand out as blindingly obvious!
How to use disclosing tablets
Generally, they are used after brushing and flossing. Read the label, but instructions are straightforward. Chew the tablet for thirty seconds and spit out. Then look in the mirror!
In order to see those more out-of-reach places, it might be a good idea to buy a dental mirror (small, plastic dental mirrors can be bought cheaply).
Once you identify any areas of your mouth that haven’t been cleaned, you can brush and floss a second time. Use them for a few days, if necessary, until there is no dye left after you brush and floss. You will have educated yourself how to clean your mouth properly. By undergoing this review process you will learn:
- If you are cleaning thoroughly enough
- If there are any areas that you need to give extra attention to when brushing
- How to improve daily plaque removal into the future – The main point of the exercise!
Who can benefit from using them?
In short, everyone can benefit from using these now and again. Even those with no teeth can use them, as the dye can be used to stain areas on dentures that aren’t being cleaned! Even if you are brushing perfectly, it does no harm to check this every so often.
However, there are certain groups who will really benefit from using this product. These include:
- Kids. The obvious dye is a hit with kids! They generally have greater interest in cleaning their teeth when their mouths are bright red or purple! On a serious note, how we brush as kids can lead to habits for life. So doing it properly from a young age is really important. Kids can struggle with understanding the need for brushing so every little helps. Disclosing tablets for kids are a great tool. Mouthwashes that stain plaque are also available, but generally not as good.
- Brace-wearers. Having orthodontic appliances on the teeth can make them harder to clean. But brushing properly is vital nonetheless, and the plaque staining tablets can be particularly useful in the period after braces are first put on. One can then identify any areas where plaque is building and clean accordingly.
- Gum disease sufferers– If you have gum disease, then it is vital that your oral hygiene becomes impeccable. Plaque build-up is the primary cause of any gum disease. Use the tablets to educate yourself in terms of where you need to concentrate brushing and flossing. This will go a long way with regards to eradicating any problems.
- Those with implants, bridges and dentures – These treatments can all lead to ‘harder-to-clean’ areas. Clearing away debris from around these prostheses is important in terms of making sure that they last and don’t damage adjacent teeth.
These products are a great tool that can lead to much better daily cleaning and hence improved dental health for life. Everyone can benefit form using them to check how well they are brushing. Some groups of people, such as kids learning to brush or those with gum disease, will really benefit form them.
Disclosing tablets are cheap and readily available (get a pack in Walmart, Boots – any supermarket or pharmacy- or online). If you have any questions about their use ask your dentist or dental hygienist.