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Self-Examination for Dental Plaque

How It Feels

Disclosing tablets and disclosing solution do not cause any discomfort. These products may be flavored to make them more pleasant-tasting.

Risks

After you use the disclosing tablets, your mouth and tongue may be temporarily stained for as long as a day with a harmless dye. Many people use the disclosing tablets at bedtime so that the stain left in their mouths can fade overnight.

Some disclosing tablets make a bright red stain, which can stain clothing.

Be sure to read the package instructions. Some disclosing products have dyes that people may be allergic to.

Results

A self-examination for dental plaque is done using a product that stains the plaque on your teeth. This lets you see how well you are brushing and flossing your teeth. If you see that the dye has stained plaque in your mouth along gum lines and between teeth, you can brush and floss more carefully. Try brushing again to remove the plaque.

What Affects the Test

There are no reasons why you cannot do this test unless you are allergic to the dyes used in these disclosing products. Check the ingredient list if you are allergic to some dyes.

What To Think About

The dental mirror may fog up while it is in your mouth. It may help to run it under warm water before using it.

Other Works Consulted

  • Beatty CF, Nikpur N (2009). Self-care measures to supplement toothbrushing. In NO Harris et al., eds., Primary Preventive Dentistry, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerSteven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Last RevisedJune 13, 2012
1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 13, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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