Activity 5B: Plaque: The Why and Hows

The day before this activity, instruct the students to bring their toothbrushes to class. Give each student a copy of “Plaque: The Why & Hows,” a disclosing tablet, and a cup of water. Disclosing tablets are often used in dentist's offices to illustrate how plaque and oral debris accumulate on the teeth and reveal brushing patterns. Students should chew a tablet and swish it around in their mouths for thirty seconds. Rinse. Explain to the students that all the red spots are plaque. This means that their toothbrush is not getting these spots. Now brush to get rid of the red spots. Explain to the students that plaque is a colorless bacteria deposit that can form on the teeth. If this plaque is not removed from the teeth through flossing and brushing, it will build up and inflame the gingiva (gums). The gingiva (gums) will then bleed when brushing. If oral health habits do not improve, then periodontal disease may occur. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can result in tooth loss.

Teachers may obtain Red-Cote™ disclosing tablets by contacting:

Butler Instant Red-Cote Dental Disclosing Tablets:



Oral hygiene, bone, jaw, oral health habit, calculus, gingivitis, plaque, disclosing tablet, brush, floss, bacteria, gingiva, dentist, dental hygienist, periodontal disease, periodontitis


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Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Watch Your Mouth
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 5: Pathology