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The mouth is the perfect place for biofilm to form. It's wet and the teeth are the ideal surface to which it can adhere and create great damage.
You may recognize biofilm as that substance that sticks to your water pipes and eventually need to be flushed out with a pipe cleaner.
What is Bacterial Biofilm?
Biofilms appear when bacteria adhere to surfaces in a watery environment and begin to discharge a slimy, gooey substance that sticks to many different materials. Biofilms can be formed of single bacteria, but it is usually made of a variety of them.
How Does Biofilm Grow in the Mouth?
Dental plaque is a biofilm that is yellowish in color and builds up on your teeth. It is made of numerous disease-causing bacteria and when it is not cleaned by a professional, it can cause cavities and gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
The bacteria cells in your mouth land on your teeth and arranges itself in clusters that attach and begin to produce a sticky material. These cells send signals to other cells and they begin to microcolonize. This microcolony promotes the growth of more bacteria.
How You Can Control Biofilm
When dental biofilm is present, it requires treatment which includes the removal of tartar from the teeth and gum line. Sometimes an antibiotic is prescribed, however, biofilm does not respond well to antibiotic treatment.
The most important thing to do to prevent biofilm from growing in your mouth is to have good oral hygiene habits at home and keeping your regular checkups.
You should also keep in mind that biofilm doesn't only grow on your teeth and gum line, but it can attach itself to appliances such as mouth guards and dentures. This can increase your risk for cavities and gum disease.