Biofilm Basics is our term in this biofilm blog. It refers to the lessons we can learn about the presence of Biofilm in the mouth. So, in honor of going back to school, we are presenting you with some facts about biofilm.
This time of year, as our lives escalate with new school schedules, we tend to rush. With the biofilm basics in this blog, we hope families won’t rush so much they neglect their good dental health habits.
We need to control biofilm to encourage a whole healthy mouth. Biofilm basically lives in our mouths like scum clings to a pond.
Bacteria and other organisms create this clingy slime. So, let’s get into it in this article, or rather, into the topic.
Biofilm and the Whole Mouth Concept
One of the Biofilm basics is the fact that Biofilm doesn’t just live on teeth but in the whole mouth. Thus, learning about it inspires our young patients to take better care of all of their mouths.
The “Whole Mouth” includes their tongue, gums, pallets, and cheeks. Quick brushing and fast flossing on or at the teeth are not enough to keep the whole mouth healthy. We must balance the biofilm basics. To do that we need to know more about it.
Experts at Colgate tell us much about whole mouth health. They say, “The soft tissues, which actually harbor 80 percent of the total bacteria in the mouth, are a reservoir from which bacteria can repopulate on teeth immediately after brushing, therefore increasing the risk of common oral health issues.”
When we tell our young patients about this, their immediate reaction is, “EW!” We are pretty sure that is a combination of horror and disgust.
Meet Your Microbiome!
Colgate experts add, “The oral microbiome contains bacteria, viruses, and fungi.” Again this horrifies our young patients. But then we tell them it is normal if it stays in balance.
“If this delicate system gets into a dysbiotic, or unbalanced, state, it allows harmful bacteria to take over and cause cavities, periodontal disease or halitosis.”
All About Flora, Fauna, and Film: Biofilm Basics
It’s very similar to the balance we know exists for good and bad bacteria in our own guts. Overall, “you can compare the balance of good and bad bacteria in biofilm to the balance of plants and animals in nature.”
If there are too many plants or too many animals in a forest, the whole balance of the natural area will be disrupted When one species in an ecosystem changes, the whole equilibrium is disrupted. The forest can get very sick.
Dr. Lisa Knowles, D.D. S. believes that dentists are teachers too. And learning about the biofilm basics can help us avoid decay and dental disease.
In a recent issue of Dr. Bicuspid, she gave us a simple explanation that is so good we want parents as well as patients to have it. Dr. Knowles tells us to keep the basic explanation of biofilm as simple as possible.
A Clear and Simple Explanation of Biofilm and You
Colgate experts agree and put it this way, “Patients who have little knowledge of biofilm may think one magic swipe of a toothbrush will kill bacterial intruders and resolve disease.”
There are two simple steps to Dr. Knowles explanation:
- “Biofilm contains groups of bacteria and other organisms throughout your whole mouth, including on your teeth, tongue, cheeks, and gums.
- If you have too much of some and not enough of others, you could develop an oral disease.”
Biofilm Basics in the Whole Mouth
Children can easily recognize that the slimy, slick stuff on your tongue and they know how it feels on your teeth. This is biofilm and this is what happens.
1. So, first comes the biofilm.
2. Then, it hardens into plaque which clutches the teeth.
3. Next, the plaque hardens into small chunky stuff called calculus or dental tartar. It gets a death grip on and between teeth, and close to the gums. When your dental hygienist cleans the teeth, she scales away chunks of calculus and the flakey coat of plaque.
4. We want both parents and children to understand that once aggressive biofilm has built into calculus, it can easily lead to serious periodontal disease.
The Truth About Biofilm Basics and Healthy Mouth-Keeping Lessons
Now, you now know why mature biofilms create havoc, not only on teeth but on the gums. The biofilm basics, as we call them, are the facts of biofilm. And they go beyond a bad, sticky taste you have when you wake up in the morning with an awful taste in your mouth.
You see, you can kill that bad taste within a few seconds after grabbing your toothbrush. But you don’t kill the biofilms that hang out in every area of your mouth unless you brush and rinse for at least two minutes, and floss once a day.
Terrific Take-Aways from Biofilm Basics
At Dentistry for Children, we are bringing you this information to protect families from biofilms that are “linked to producing chronic infections resistant to all kinds of antibiotics and antimicrobial agents.”
Needless to say, usually, such biofilms also resist “the body’s immune system.”
However, your child can break away from the bondage of biofilm and infection very easily. Break away the Biofilm with simple protective measures:
- Rinse daily with a good mouthwash. Blast away
“microorganisms before they attach themselves to your teeth and gums…”
- Never miss brushing for two minutes, “twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque.” Remember a quickie job in brushing allows the biofilm to slip right back onto teeth from cheeks and gums.
- “Floss or use an interdental product daily to remove plaque hiding between your teeth and under your gum line – before it can harden into tartar.”
Diets and Dental Visits Blast Biofilm
Three more Biofilm blasters will help your child avoid decay and infections.
1. Avoid a Sticky Situation: It makes sense to “Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks.”
2. Attend Regular Dental Check-ups: Remember those regular dental cleanings and checkups. And remember, only your dental professional can properly remove tartar. (Review our last blog about the horrors of do-it-yourself dentistry.)
3. Deny D.I.Y. Dentistry: If you have any tartar, only your dental professional can healthily, properly, and gently, remove it.
Scientists are doing complex studies to see how to better break the bond of biofilm and make it easier to remove.
For this blog, we stayed with the simple basics. But the research is another story, another blog.
Now you know that the key to controlling biofilm is maintaining your dental health habits. Prevention is always preferable to Cure!
As we go back to school, don’t let your dental care pay the price for your accelerated schedule. Eat properly and take the time for good oral hygiene. And join the ranks of our Biofilm Blasters team!