Updated on March 11, 2024
6 min read

Plaque Disclosing Tablets

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Effective dental plaque removal can be challenging, especially for children and people with braces. Disclosing tablets can help show where the plaque has accumulated, making it easier to remove the plaque. 

Studies show orthodontic patients who use plaque disclosing tablets at home have less plaque and healthier gums than those who don’t.1

You may have received plaque disclosing tablets at a dentist appointment. Hygienists often use them to check how well people clean their teeth at home. 

What are Plaque Disclosing Tablets?

Dental disclosing tablets contain a harmless pink or purple dye that reacts with plaque on your teeth. Chewing a tablet activates the dye, temporarily revealing plaque that remains in your mouth after you brush and floss.

Disclosing tablets help develop good brushing habits by revealing areas where plaque has accumulated on the teeth. They make it easier to see places you missed during brushing and flossing.

Plaque disclosing tablets are particularly helpful for:

  • People with fixed orthodontic treatments like braces
  • Parents cleaning their child’s teeth or teaching their child how to brush and floss
  • Caretakers cleaning the teeth of people with special needs
  • Adults who want to improve the effectiveness of their brushing and flossing
pink plaque disclosing

A study examining three groups of orthodontic patients found that those who used disclosing tablets for self-examination at home had less dental plaque than those who didn’t.1 

Of the other two groups, one had a chairside demonstration at the dentist’s office with a plaque disclosing tablet. The second one received conventional oral hygiene instructions.1

How to Use Plaque Disclosing Tablets

Plaque disclosing tablets are a great way to ensure you’re cleaning your teeth—or your child’s teeth.

Here’s how to use them:

  1. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, cleaning all tooth surfaces and along the gums.
  2. Floss your teeth.
  3. Chew one disclosing tablet and swish it with the saliva in your mouth. Use your tongue to help spread the dye along your upper and lower teeth.
  4. Spit into the sink with the water running. Be careful because the dye can stain surfaces. Rinse it away immediately.
  5. Examine your teeth and gums in the mirror, checking for stains left by the disclosing tablet.
  6. Take your toothbrush and re-brush stained areas more thoroughly until the dye disappears.
  7. Rinse your mouth and spit out the dye. If any dye gets on your lips or the skin around your mouth, clean it immediately to prevent stains. 
  8. Use a fluoridated rinse afterwards to prevent cavities, as rinsing after brushing with a toothpaste will negate any anti-cavity properties of the toothpaste. 

How Often Should You Use Them?

Your dentist may recommend plaque disclosing tablets to enhance your home oral hygiene routine. You can use them as often as every day to ensure you remove all the plaque from your teeth.

Pros and Cons of Disclosing Tablets

Plaque disclosing tablets have many benefits, but they also come with some disadvantages.

Pros of Plaque Disclosing Tablets

Advantages of dental disclosing tablets include:

  • Helps you brush and floss your teeth in a way that removes plaque more effectively
  • Encourages kids to develop good brushing habits
  • Promotes clean teeth and plaque removal in people undergoing orthodontic treatments
  • Highlights areas in which plaque may hide, especially around the wires and brackets of braces
  • Reduces plaque buildup that can cause gum disease and tooth decay

Cons of Plaque Disclosing Tablets

The main downside of plaque disclosing tablets is their ability to stain clothes, skin, and surfaces. Make sure to rinse any areas the dye touches before a stain develops.

Types of Plaque Disclosing Products

Disclosing tablets aren’t the only product containing a special dye that reveals plaque. Factors to consider when choosing a plaque disclosing product are the age of the person using it and the strength of the dye. 

Options include:

1. Plaque Disclosing Tablets

Tablets are the easiest product for many people. This is because they contain a more potent dye, making it easier to see dental plaque on the teeth. 

Plaque disclosing tablets typically come in a pack of 50 to 100. Remove one tablet from the pack when you’re ready to use it. Simply chew the tablet and swish it with your saliva, then spit any remaining dye into the sink.

2. Plaque Disclosing Toothpaste

Plaque disclosing toothpaste contains a dye that highlights areas you missed during brushing. It can be harder to use because you can’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing. 

Additionally, plaque disclosing toothpaste can cost more per dose than tablets because you’ll use it faster.

3. Plaque Disclosing Mouth Rinse

Mouth rinses often contain a disclosing agent that’s less noticeable than tablets. This can make it harder to see the dye on your teeth.

Also, when you go back to brush the temporary stains away, this will negate any anti-cavity properties in the rinse.

Are They Safe?

Yes, plaque disclosing tablets are safe for kids and adults. The only potential risk of using them is their ability to stain your clothing or bathroom fixtures.

They’re very safe if you don’t chew and swallow the tablets. If you worry your child may be swallowing the dye, supervise them when they use disclosing tablets.

Other Oral Health Tips

Plaque disclosing tablets are a great way to boost your oral hygiene routine, but they don’t clean teeth. The dye shows plaque you missed while brushing, which can help lead to cleaner teeth. 

Other ways to effectively remove plaque and ensure clean teeth include:

  • Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice daily
  • Clean between teeth with dental floss or a water flosser
  • Brush in gentle, circular motions and focus on the gum line

Where to Buy Disclosing Tablets

Your dentist may recommend a particular type of plaque disclosing tablets. Otherwise, there are many options available. Some of our favorites include:

Fresh Knight Dental Tru-Clean Purple Chews

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These plaque disclosing tablets have a kid-friendly berry flavor. The purple dye makes it easy to see plaque and bacteria hiding on the teeth and tongue.

Dental Check Plaque Disclosing Tablets

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This pack of 120 plaque disclosing tablets is a 4-month supply for one person when used daily. The berry flavor and pink dye make plaque removal fun, particularly for kids.

JJ Care Disclosing Tablets for Kids and Adults

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These plaque disclosing tablets are also berry-flavored with a purple dye. The sealed individual packaging makes these tablets easy to travel with.

What is Dental Plaque? Why is it Harmful?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers your teeth. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, the bacteria in dental plaque release acids that attack tooth enamel. 

Over time, dental plaque can lead to:


Plaque disclosing tablets contain a special dye that shows plaque leftover after regular brushing and flossing. Effective plaque removal is essential to prevent tooth decay,  gum disease, and dental caries.

Plaque disclosing tablets are safe for kids’ teeth and can help children learn the importance of quality brushing. They’re also great for orthodontic patients who may have trouble removing plaque around their braces. 

The biggest risk of plaque disclosing tablets is their ability to stain clothing, lips, and surfaces.

Last updated on March 11, 2024
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 11, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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