by Dr Jeffery Hoos’ Dental Health
I have been asked to start a dental health column for the Stratford Crier. My goal is to make this an interactive column. I would love to get questions from everyone about your dental health. You can send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will do my best to answer everyone’s questions.
What is Biofilm?
We are going to be very scientific and ask the question What is Biofilm?
And once everyone knows that it will lead to the question: Why do I need to get my teeth clean at my dentist’s office.
I get asked all the time………why do I need to get my teeth cleaned at my dentist’s office. That is a great question. The answer is: because, most people can not do a good enough job on their own.
Now I am going to tell a deep family secret. You all have to promise not to tell anyone. I graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1978. One of my first patients was my mother, Esther Hoos. She was my patient for 30 years before she passed away. The big secret is, I NEVER HAD TO CLEAN HER TEETH. It is very very true and the reason was that she so meticulously cleaned her teeth, there was nothing on her teeth to clean. Most people cannot do that. Most people even the dentists who are my patients, need professional cleanings. IF a dentist needs to have their teeth cleaned then most if not everyone, need professional cleanings.
The person that goes to school “to clean teeth” are called dental hygienists. Hygienists do so much more than just clean teeth. They are true professionals that are capable of detecting dental disease, taking x rays, cleaning the “biofilm” off tooth structure and treating the gingiva. The goal is bringing gingiva back to health. The way to get gingiva back to health is to remove the biofilm.
What is Biofilm? This is a very scientific question, that most people do not know. That dental biofilm starts as very small invisible bacteria. That invisible stuff is easy to remove by just brushing and flossing. It is biofilm that is the cause of many oral diseases such as gum diseases and tooth decay. There is also a lot of research that biofilm can lead to stomach issues and heart disease.
If you do not remove or get biofilm removed it starts to grow. As they grow, and there are so many different bacterial in the biofilm. These bacteria are common and very harmful to your teeth and gums. You can remove this bacteria yourself but most people are not skillful enough, and when not removed periodontal disease, bone loss, teeth loosening, bad breath, and bleed on gums will occur. The bacteria is living in that biofilm and carrying on their BAD STUFF. The biofilm is like a slime layer called dental plaque. We have to get plaque off your teeth..
When biofilm is allowed to grow on the teeth and gums long enough, it can start to become visible as a white or yellowish substance. That yellow stuff is called tartar and the tartar is teaming with bacteria.
So now we know about gum disease and bone loss but what about tooth decay. Tooth decay happens because the bacteria releases an acid. The acid attacks the tooth surface and causes cavities.
Why do some people get much more decay than other people? This is because the biofilm is not removed daily and people who eat sugar all the time are constantly bathing their teeth in acid.
The acid that the biofilm creates by eating the sugar attacks the teeth and causes tooth decay. When you “nurse” a sugar drink all day or eat sugar all day, the acid is attacking the teeth all the time. You have to at least rinse your mouth.
So now you are all dental experts, having knowledge of biofilm and understanding, “why do I need to get my teeth cleaned?”
Trust your dentist and their professional hygienists to keep your mouth healthy and clean. They will also show you how to brush and floss properly.
Until next time……..BRUSH & FLOSS