Perhaps you have heard the term “biofilm” at one of your dental visits. You should know that a dental biofilm starts out very small, invisible, in fact. But you should also know that a biofilm is the main culprit in many oral diseases, such as periodontitis and tooth decay. How is this virtually unnoticeable substance a threat to your health?
Put simply, a biofilm is the collection of microscopic living things that grow together within a substance that they produce. There are many, many different kinds of bacteria living inside your mouth. Some of these bacteria are very common and very harmful to your teeth and gums.
When not removed regularly, these bacteria cause problems such as periodontal disease, gingivitis, and cavities. These bacteria keep themselves safe to carry on their dirty work by living in this protected matrix of what is essentially a slime of layers upon layers of bacteria. As found in the mouth, such a biofilm is called “dental plaque.”
As mentioned earlier, the bacteria within a biofilm can cause some serious problems. When this biofilm is allowed to grow on the teeth and gums long enough, it can start to become visible as a white or yellowish substance. At that point, it is already late enough for the germs to have begun their destructive activities.
Some bacteria release acids that eat away at the teeth’s protective enamel layer, resulting in cavities. Others cause inflammation of the gums, which is gingivitis, and this can advance to the more serious gum infection, periodontitis.
The dental experts at Wellesley Dental want you to know that with thorough and frequent oral hygiene measures, you can prevent this dangerous biofilm (dental plaque) from accumulating. Schedule an appointment at Wellesley Dental to get professional advice on properly controlling biofilm and treating the effects of it.