The mouth is a critical part of the human body. Because of how important your teeth, tongue, and other features are for your health, taking good care of them and the organisms that live there is important.
While the thought of living organisms making your mouth their home may sound unusual and unsanitary, it’s completely normal. However, despite the fact that every human has them, it doesn’t mean they won’t cause any problems. This collection of organisms, known as the biofilm, is incredibly influential to your oral health. Not paying attention to the biofilm in your mouth can cause numerous outcomes that can harm your teeth. For more information, here is an overview of the effects of biofilm on oral health, from what the biofilm is to how it can be maintained.
What Is Biofilm?
Before learning about the effects of biofilm on oral health, you should understand what it is. A biofilm is a diverse community of microorganisms that form a thin layer in the mouths of humans and other animals. This oral microflora is made up of many bacterial species, archaea, viruses, and other microbes that colonize mouths. The combination of these various microbes creates a complex matrix that allows the biofilm to resist antimicrobial agents and the host’s defense system.
Biofilm Formation and Development
There are many factors that contribute to biofilm development, including the foods and drinks you eat. Biofilm development can be a result of what an individual eats. For example, some bacteria can metabolize sugars to create acids that facilitate their growth due to the low PH levels. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and other lifestyle choices also play an important role in biofilm growth and composition.
Natural processes that take place in your mouth can also influence the development of the biofilm. Oral cavities provide the bacteria and other microflora with a moist and warm environment that makes it easier for them to grow, and your saliva influences the biofilm by breaking down the food that you chew. Furthermore, the oral surfaces exposed to saliva can have increased adhesiveness, making it easier for microbes to stick and colonize the mouth.
The Effects of Biofilm on Oral Health
Although the microorganisms inside biofilm can prevent unwanted invaders from entering the body and causing harm, they can also lead to numerous diseases and health problems. Several oral diseases rely on the biofilm to thrive, including gingivitis and periodontitis, among many others.
Dental plaque and diminished gum quality are just a few of the many problems a poor biofilm can cause. It is also possible for the biofilm to cause dental caries, which causes the demineralization of dental hard tissues. When left unchecked, the deterioration can lead to an oral cavity or, even worse, a complete tooth loss. The effects of biofilm on oral health have also been linked to several respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Can the Biofilm be Controlled?
Unfortunately, despite the harmful effects of biofilm on oral health, it cannot be removed completely. However, the biofilm can be controlled with the help of proper dental hygiene, and the risk of developing oral diseases can be reduced greatly.
Brushing regularly and visiting your dentist for cleaning will help keep teeth clean by keeping the microflora in check, but it is beneficial to use mouthwash or rinse to ensure every part of the mouth is washed. Additionally, watching what you eat and drink will make it harder for the biofilm microbes to grow too powerful.
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