The Benefits of Disclosing Products
In a recent segment of BURST TV, Nancy, RDH, discussed the importance and advantages of using disclosing agents on patients in the office and if necessary, incorporating it into home care routines. Dental professionals have numerous conversations with patients about areas in the mouth that they have missed when they’re brushing and point out problematic areas. Then the professional provides tips and recommendations on how to improve home care. The use of disclosing agents in the office and/or at home provides visual guidance for better understanding and patient compliance.
What is biofilm?
Biofilm is an almost invisible, sticky, and soft bacteria that adheres to the teeth. It is always present in the mouth even after toothbrushing or a dental cleaning. The goal of a dental professional is to reduce the presence of biofilm as much as possible.
Goal of Disclosing Agents
Using disclosing agents in the office or at home helps give a visual aid of the areas in the mouth that have been missed during a cleaning or at-home hygiene routine. The most common area missed is along the gumline, otherwise known as the gingival third of the tooth. Additionally, if one has teeth that are rotated or crowded, this can be a common area for biofilm buildup that is easily missed.
The use of disclosing agents helps build good oral hygiene habits. Patients can see the areas missed and in-turn are more motivated. Because biofilm is relatively invisible, it is hard to see areas missed unless the area has been missed for a period of time long enough for layers to form. At this point, the biofilm would appear similar to cottage cheese.
How do disclosing agents work?
The dye substances in the disclosing agents interact with the biofilm bacteria in the mouth which leaves a contrasting dye. This provides way for clinicians and patients to see any areas biofilm is present.
Types of Disclosing Agents
There are many different types of disclosing agents. The most common form of a disclosing agent is a chewable tablet. The tablets are available through dental product companies or over-the-counter such as Amazon or drug stores. Another option is Plaque HD toothpaste which helps stain the plaque green. Disclosing gel is an option which differentiates old plaque versus new plaque. Old plaque will appear blue and new plaque will appear pink/red. This is especially useful in a clinical setting in which for an example a patient may state, “I just had breakfast.” However, if the disclosing gel is showing blue, that indicates the bacteria has been there a longer period of time. Lastly, there are dabbing disclosing products which allow a clinician to maintain the solution to a certain area of the mouth.
Disadvantages to Disclosing Agents
The disadvantages to disclosing agents are minimal. The first disadvantage is particular to the chewable tablets. If patients have trouble chewing/chewing for 60 seconds, disclosing tablets are not the best option. Secondly, using disclosing agents do stain the cheeks, tongue, and gingiva. Patients don’t particularly prefer disclosing solution if they have to go back to work or run errands after their dental appointment.
Overall, disclosing agents are a great tool to show patients and parents of young patients areas that are being missed and/or problem areas for adults. While a patient may have a great brushing and flossing routine, there are often areas of crevices or genetically rotated teeth that create hard to reach areas. Disclosing agents help illuminate any areas of concern.
Photo Credits: www.EMS-Dental.com
Photos of Actual Patients
- Tablets: GUM Sunstar Red-Cote
- Toothpaste: Plaque HD
- Gel: GC Tri Plaque ID
- Dabbing: EMS Dental Biofilm Discloser