Our mouths are full of bacteria, and this is perfectly normal. As humans, we have a close relationship with bacteria, they are key to maintaining our health.

When it comes to oral hygiene, the issue is not the presence of bacteria, but the amount of them and their combination with sugars. When there is too much bacteria present and they are combined with a high level of sugar dental plaque can result.


What is dental plaque?

Plaque is a film of bacteria and sugar that forms on a tooth. When plaque is not removed frequently, it can evolve to tartar. Tartar is a hardened version of a plaque and is much more difficult to remove.

Risk factors:

The formation of plaque is usually associated with a diet rich in sugar and carbohydrates, combined with poor oral hygiene.

How do I detect dental plaque?

There are a few ways of detecting dental plaque, either at home or at your dentist’s office. One method involves chewing special tablets that will dye the plaque red, pink, purple or blue, depending on how long it’s been on the tooth. The use of these tablets is also a particularly beneficial tool to educate children about the importance of brushing their teeth.

Another way of detecting plaque is by using a special fluorescent solution that similarly dyes the plaque, however, can only be seen using a special ultraviolet light. The advantage of this method is that it won’t leave any stains in your mouth.

How is dental plaque detected?

Depending on which stage your dental plaque is in, some changes in the gums can be detected such as redness, retraction and swelling. It can also cause bad breath.

Detecting plaque is important to identify what needs to be improved in your oral hygiene and to remove it properly.

Dental plaque is very common but can easily evolve into a dangerous health issue if not removed. A good relationship with your toothbrush and dental floss can avoid problems such as tooth decay. Pairing this relationship with a healthy diet is the best way to avoid harmful plaque.


If you have any concerns about the potential of dental plaque on your teeth book a consultation with Dr Kate Amos or Dr Sam Rosehill at Ethical Dental on 6652 3185 or book online.

For more information about dental plaque check out our article ‘How Can I Prevent Dental Plaque?’.