How to tell if you have plaque

Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of good dental health. It’s the best way to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and prevent dental disease.

However, it’s not easy to brush your teeth well. For one thing, plaque can be quite stubborn to remove. For another thing, it can hide in areas you might easily miss. To add to the problem, it’s not even easy to tell if you have plaque or not. Plaque is colourless, so you won’t see it just by looking in the mirror.

So how can you tell if you have plaque or not? Don’t worry – in this post, we’ll look at three ways you can tell if you have plaque.

1. Feel your teeth

One way is by simply feeling your teeth, either with a finger or your tongue. Your teeth should feel smooth. If you feel anything rough, sticky or gritty, then it could be plaque.

2. See a dentist

Another way is by seeing a dentist. Your dentist can examine your teeth and let you know how well you’ve been brushing them. They can also remove any plaque that you might have missed.

3. Use plaque disclosing agents

The third way to tell if you have plaque is with plaque disclosing agents. These products contain a special dye that stains plaque and makes it easy to see. You can buy these agents over the counter; there’s no need for a prescription.

How to use a disclosing agent

Disclosing agents are very easy to use. They usually come in the form of tablets, which you simply chew for thirty seconds and then spit out. Sometimes however it comes in the form of a liquid. In this case, you just swish it around your mouth, like mouthwash, and then spit it out.

You then look in a mirror to find out how much plaque you have. All the parts of your teeth that are stained purple are parts that have plaque.

Hopefully, you won’t have much, but some people have quite a lot. It can be a real eye-opener to see how much plaque you have on your teeth.

Try to see if you’re missing any particular spots when you brush. People often miss the gum line when brushing; if this is you, then you’ll see dyed plaque running along your gum line. If that’s the case, you’ll know to brush better there.

When you’re finished looking at your teeth, you can remove the dye by brushing and flossing it away. This will also have the added benefit of removing any plaque you have.

Don’t worry about the dye spoiling your smile – it’s temporary and will fade completely after a few hours.


There are a few different ways you can tell how well you’re brushing your teeth. One of the best is plaque disclosing agents. By using plaque disclosing tablets regularly, you will see a real and noticeable improvement in your dental health. To buy plaque disclosing agents, ask your pharmacy or dentist.