Plaque Cleaning Tools

Updated November 21, 2016

Plaque cleaning tools are designed to remove plaque, tartar and other build-up from teeth. Many of the advanced tools are found at a dentist's office, but you can also buy some over-the-counter plaque cleaning tools. Using these tools continually can improve your overall dental and oral health. Plaque and tartar are basically the same thing in different forms. Plaque is a sticky, filmy substance that coats teeth, and tartar is hardened plaque.


A toothbrush is one of the most basic, commonly used tools to clean plaque off teeth. A simple toothbrush and toothpaste effectively cleans tartar and plaque from teeth. However, a toothbrush won't get rid of all the plaque on your teeth. Visiting a dentist and getting regular cleanings can help ensure that your mouth stays healthy.

Sickle Probe

A sickle probe, also called a plaque scraper, is a handheld non-electric dental cleaning tool used by dentists and hygienists. These tools are very sharp, so they are not sold to the public. The sharp edges are effective at scraping plaque, tarter and other debris from teeth. This tool also has a hook on the end that helps hygienists get between teeth. The tool comes in different sizes and shapes to fit various mouths. A hygienist uses a smaller sickle probe on children because their teeth and mouth is much smaller than an adults.

Sonic Scaler

A sonic scaler looks similar to a toothbrush, but it has a rounded tip that is about the size of a pea. The scaler vibrates to help loosen and remove plaque and tartar from teeth. A slight vibration is felt while the dentist uses the tool to clean teeth. Water is inserted into the mouth after a professional uses a scaler to clean teeth. The water helps wash away what the tool removed. Hygienist often use gritty professional-grade toothpaste in addition to the sonic scaler to loose plaque and clean teeth at the same time.

Dental Floss

Dental floss also helps remove plaque that is between teeth. Flossing is essential for overall dental health because food often gets trapped between teeth. Allowing food to collect in this area can contribute to cavities and future gum problems. Floss comes in many flavours and types. The most common are clear thin floss or waxed minty floss. Use thin floss if your teeth are tightly compacted.

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