What Are Plaque Disclosers?

Bacterial plaque revealers are used to improve dental hygiene. In this article we tell you what kinds are available, as well as how and when to use them.
What Are Plaque Disclosers?

Last update: 06 August, 2021

Maybe you’re not sure what plaque disclosers are used for and how to use them. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about these substances that stain the biofilm on your teeth.

Bacterial plaque, also called biofilm, is a thin, translucent, sticky film formed by bacteria and sugars that build up and adhere to tooth surfaces. When it forms, it may not be visible to the naked eye.

If it’s not properly removed by brushing, it accumulates, turning yellowish white and giving the area a rough texture. It mostly builds up on the necks of the teeth and around orthodontic appliances, two areas that are difficult to access during dental hygiene routines.

The presence and buildup of plaque can cause several problems in your mouth, such as cavities, gingivitis and bad breath, among others. That’s why it’s so important to get rid of it completely. This is where plaque disclosers come into play; they can be a great help when it comes to dental hygiene.

What are plaque disclosers?

As already mentioned, when plaque forms on your teeth it’s transparent; this makes it difficult to see and can make the tooth falsely appear clean. Plaque disclosers are substances that stain the biofilm to make it visible. In this way, it’s easier to remove.

Knowing where the plaque is makes it possible to know which areas of your mouth need more attention, and thus improve your hygiene techniques. These agents are very useful in preventive routines and as motivation about the importance of oral care.

Characteristics of plaque disclosers

Plaque disclosers contain special dyes that color the biofilm red, pink or purple to make it visible. They’re made with different substances such as erythrosine, fuchsin, sodium fluorescein, phloxine or malachite green, among others.

They come in different presentations, which we’ll detail below. The main characteristics of effective plaque disclosers are:

  • Easy to use.
  • Don’t irritate the mouth.
  • Biocompatible and water-soluble.
  • Don’t sting the gums or contain allergens.
  • Pleasant taste.
  • Color contrast: the intensity of the color should vary to distinguish between new and old plaque.
  • The coloration lasts long enough.
  • Easy to remove after use.
A dentist scrapes plaque off a tooth.
Dental plaque isn’t always visible. This makes it harder to identify and remove.

Types of plaque disclosers

As already mentioned, there are different types of plaque disclosers on the market. This means you can choose the most suitable option for your particular needs. Here we’ll tell you about the most common.

Chewable tablets

These are tablets that you chew until they dissolve completely. As saliva that your mouth has produced circulates, you should rinse 3 or 4 times with water. Then take a look at your teeth.

They stain the plaque red. In addition, there are the well-known two-tone tablets, which stain the oldest plaque blue and the most recent violet-red.

Nowadays they’re not so widely used because the color stays on the teeth for a long time. In addition, it’s difficult to stain the entire oral cavity; their effectiveness depends on the patient’s skill in using them.

A girl with braces brushing her teeth.
Plaque discloser is useful for orthodontic patients who find hygiene more difficult. It helps make it easier to reach difficult places.

You might be interested: The Main Dental Problems in Children

A good addition to your dental hygiene routine

Now you know what plaque disclosers are all about. And although you don’t need to use them every day, visualizing the places where bacteria accumulate will allow you to improve your oral hygiene.

Your dentist will be able to advise you on how to use them and at what times. They’re easy to find in pharmacies and you can choose whatever type you prefer.

It’s worth thinking about this aid for proper dental hygiene. You already know that good oral health care prevents many diseases and gives you a radiant smile.



  • Casado Gómez, Inmaculada, et al. “Entrenamiento del alumnado en la evaluación de la higiene oral con cultivos microbianos y revelador de placa previo y posterior al cepillado bucodental y para educación sanitaria.” (2019).
  • Ames Quincho, Gabriela Luz. “Eficacia del control de placa bacteriana de los pacientes con tratamiento ortodoncico que acuden a la especialidad de ortodoncia y ortopedia maxilar de la universidad privada Norbert Wiener-Lima 2017.” (2018).
  • Chiliquinga Macias, Jorge Adrian. Efectividad del cepillado escolar supervisado en el control de placa bacteriana. BS thesis. Universidad de Guayaquil. Facultad Piloto de Odontología, 2020.
  • de Sousa, Rui Sérgio Henriques Mota. “Comparação da eficácia do revelador de placa com método físico de descolamento.” (2019).
  • Namrata, M., Nandhini G. Ashok, and Dhanraj Ganapathy. “A survey of knowledge, attitude, and practice toward disclosing agents among dental students: A prospective study.” International Journal of Orofacial Research 2.2 (2017): 48.
  • Datta, Dipayan, et al. “Disclosing solutions used in dentistry.” World J Pharm Res 6.6 (2017): 1648-56.
  • Mensi, Magda, et al. “Plaque disclosing agent as a guide for professional biofilm removal: A randomized controlled clinical trial.” International journal of dental hygiene 18.3 (2020): 285-294.
  • Fasoulas, Aristeidis, et al. “Detection of dental plaque with disclosing agents in the context of preventive oral hygiene training programs.” Heliyon 5.7 (2019): e02064.
  • Parry, Joshua A., et al. “Disclosing agents for the intraoperative identification of biofilms on orthopedic implants.” The Journal of arthroplasty 32.8 (2017): 2501-2504.