Chapter 9- Disclosing- with little blue tablets

When you clean your teeth what you are trying to do is get the plaque off your teeth.

What is plaque? Well it’s bits of old food debris and trillions of little bacteria and those little bacteria, they sit on your teeth and they want to colonise your teeth, that’s where they want to live, so-

Plaque + sugar = acid = caries [tooth decay/ cavities]

Plaque = gum disease [periodontal disease].

So the longer the plaque is on your teeth the more bacteria there are going to be because they are going to breed and the more different types of bacteria there are going to be.

It’s a bit like this- if you leave a bit of bread in your bread bin for a couple of days you get green mould on it, another couple of days and you get another color mould. That’s because other bugs come along in the atmosphere and live on your bit of bread.

It’s the same with your teeth- other bacteria come along in your saliva and live on your teeth, so as the colony gets older, you get more bugs but you get more complicated and sophisticated bugs. As those bugs metabolise they produce waste products- toxins. The more bugs you have the more toxins you’re going to have. The more different types of bugs, the more different types of toxins and there for the more complicated your gum disease is going to be. It also has other effects on your general health [come back to that in a tic].

The object of the exercise when cleaning your teeth is to get all of the bugs of all of the surfaces of your teeth effectively and efficiently twice a day. In order to achieve that you need to do all I have advised in the previous chapters, clean your teeth in the mirror so you can see what you’re up to, wear your glasses if you need them for reading and STAIN UP THE PLAQUE.

They are very cleaver little bugs they look just like your teeth- camouflage.

So with little kids I get them to stain up their teeth, look in the mirror, see the colour, brush the colour off, their teeth are clean, it tricks them into spending long enough in the bathroom but with adults I get you to do it afterwards, because you want to teach yourself the bits you have missed.

There are 8,760 hours in a year and I aim to see my patients for 30mins to an hour per annum, the rest of the time you are going to be on your own, so it’s a self-teaching tool, it’s for you to teach yourself the bits you’ve missed so that you can improve your technique and there for you can avoid the perils of not cleaning your teeth properly which are gum disease and tooth decay.

I aim for all of my patients not to have any new holes and not to have any gum disease.

Now obviously if you have big fillings they occasionally break, well that’s wear and tear or you might come off your bike and I will have to sort you out, or I do a lot of non-destructive cosmetic things like bleaching but I don’t want to do new holes, don’t want you to have gum disease and I don’t want the fillings you’ve got to fail for the want of care and attention on the part of their owner.

Analogy time now-

You clean your kitchen work surface with a dishcloth, you think it’s clean. You think it’s clean ‘cause it looks clean. Well it isn’t clean, it doesn’t matter how clean your dishcloth is, that surface will still be covered in trillions of bugs but you need to know your teeth are clean because the perils of having non clean teeth are miserable, painful, expensive and time consuming.

They say you never learn to drive ‘till you get into your car after you’ve passed your test. Your driving instructor will teach you to pass your test, then you need to get into your car, take courage in both hands, get yourself on the motorway and teach yourself to drive.

Well it’s the same with your teeth, I [and the rest of the dental profession] am there to impart the information you need to know, teach you what you need to do and then you need to go home and with the aid of these little instructions [and your dental team’s] and little blue DISCLOSING TABLETS teach YOURSELF TO LOOK AFTER YOUR TEETH.

Gum disease and its association with other diseases.

This is the simplest way I can explain it.

If you had a balloon and you put too much air in it, your balloon gets bigger and the skin of your balloon will get thinner, you only have to tickle your balloon and it pops. So if your guns are inflamed and infected, they swell, the skin gets thinner, you only have to tickle them and they pop. That’s why they bleed, they bleed because they are inflamed, get them cleaner and they stop bleeding.

Now you know your skin has lots of layers and the top layer is the tough layer and an ulcer is if the top layer breaks down. It might break down for lots of reasons- you might burn yourself on the oven- a burn is a type of ulcer, you might come off your bike, slide up the road and take the skin off your thigh, another type of ulcer or various other diseases and conditions where the top layer breaks down for some reason. That’s all an ulcer is, it’s a descriptive term it means ‘a hole in your skin’. So if you have 5mm pockets round all of your top teeth, the back side of your top teeth, all of your bottom teeth and the back side of your bottom teeth, if you stuck all those little ribbons of pocket together you would  have an ulcer getting on for as big as the palm of your hand. Which is enormous!! If you had an ulcer that big on your leg or somewhere you would be beside yourself, but because it’s in your mouth you don’t think about it. It’s a huge portal of entry for bugs. So bearing in mind there are more bugs in a human bite than a dog bite- so they say, your mouth is full of bugs, every ones is. Those little bugs they get into the that ulcer in your inflamed gums, get into your blood system, wizzle round in your blood stream and settle in places where perhaps they shouldn’t- inside of your blood vessels, your heart valves etc. So that is the link in the simplest way I can describe it between gum disease and other systemic [whole body] diseases.

It takes no medical knowledge whatsoever to understand that if the blood can leak out then the bugs can leak in.

If you did come of your bike, slide up the road and take all the skin off your thigh the first thing you would do is wash the road muck of it, then you would put a nice sterile dressing on it so it stays dry free from bacteria so it can heal, but you cannot put a plaster on your gums, so you have to make your own plaster by making sure your gums are as uninflamed as possible so they don’t leak blood out and there for the bugs can’t leak in.

On the next 2 pages are the instructions for children [up to about 13yrs] and adults I give my patients. Especially with kids print them off, stick them up in the bathroom so they can teach themselves how to do it. Do it with them occasionally they will love to see you with red and blue teeth-‘hours of family fun’ for a rainy day!

Kids once a week, adults once a week to start then once a month.


When you clean your teeth what you are trying to do is get plaque off your teeth.

Plaque is the sticky white substance found on teeth.

It is made of bits of old food and lots of bacteria [germs].


Caries is the science name for cavities [holes] in your teeth.

These can be very sore if they grow very big.

The dentist will be able to clean them out before they get sore and repair them with a filling for you, but although repaired your tooth will not be as strong as it was before it had a cavity.

Much better not to get the cavity in the first place!

So you need to brush the plaque off your teeth.

But plaque is the same color as your teeth, how are you going to know if you’ve got it all off?

This is why you need disclosing tablets to colour up the plaque so you can see it.

Follow these instructions;

  • Put some Vaseline on your lips.
  • Put one tablet in your mouth.
  • Crunch it up with a lot of saliva [spit].
  • Swish it round your mouth especially under your lips.
  • Have a really good rinse to get rid of the extra colour.
  • Look in the mirror.
  • Any plaque that is red has been there for less than 24hrs [1 day].
  • Any plaque that is bluer is much older, it could be weeks old! So it has been there much longer doing damage to your tooth.
  • Now brush your teeth and time how long it takes you to get them clean and remember which bits have more plaque on them.
  • Do this once a week, same day every week.
  • On the ‘in between’ days remember what you’ve learnt.


Instructions For The Use Of Disclosing Tablets– Adults.

The reason for cleaning teeth is to remove plaque from your teeth:

Plaque is the sticky white substance found on teeth.

It is composed of food debris and bacteria.

The longer plaque is left on teeth, the more bacteria and the more complex and different types.

Plaque + Sugar = Acid = Cavities/Holes.

Plaque = Gum disease.

To remove plaque effectively you need to:

  • Follow my cleaning instructions.
  • Use a mirror when cleaning.
  • Wear your glasses if you need them for reading.
  • Stain up the plaque as it’s hard to see, being the same color as your teeth.

There are 8760 hours in a year and I see you for perhaps 1-2 of those – the rest of the time you’re in charge – they are your teeth.

Disclosing is a self-teaching tool: It is for you to teach yourself the places you miss and to teach you how much effort is required to get those places clean and therefore for you to improve your technique.


After cleaning your teeth as prescribed:

  • Put some Vaseline on your lips.
  • Put one tablet in your mouth.
  • Crunch it up with your back teeth.
  • Swish it round your mouth with a lot of saliva making sure to balloon out your lips.
  • Have a really good rinse to remove excess.
  • Look in the mirror and see what you have missed.

Red is the plaque under 24 hours old.

Blue is the more damaging plaque over 24 hours old.

Re-clean those places.

Remember where they are.

Frequency- once a week to start, then once a month when you get good. Diarise it!




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