Biofilm is a layer of bacteria that can accumulate on your body’s skin, and bacteria live in these communities to protect themselves from threats like other germs, antibiotics or antimicrobials. The plaque that forms on your teeth is a type of dental biofilm, and because it can lead to oral health problems like gum disease or cavities, it needs to be removed. Here are three effective methods for biofilm removal.
Dentists and dental hygienists recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice to three times per day, to remove biofilm. Most people don’t brush their teeth for that long, and this means that biofilm can remain on your teeth, at the gumline and on your smile. It’s a good idea to set a timer while you’re brushing your teeth to ensure that you brush for at least 2 minutes.
When you’re brushing, use short back-and-forth strokes for example, to clean the outside surfaces, inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all of your teeth. Remember to brush around your gumline and around your back teeth. These areas can be hard to reach, so be patient and diligent.
Brushing isn’t able to remove all of your biofilm since it can build up between your teeth or underneath your gumline, and it’s very hard to reach these areas with a toothbrush. To remove biofilm from these hard-to-reach areas, dentists recommend flossing once per day. If you’re not currently flossing this often, you’re not alone. The American Dental Association reports that only four out of 10 Americans floss their teeth every day, while 20 percent never floss.
To floss effectively, start with an 18-inch-long strand of floss. Hold a small section of the floss between your fingers and gently insert it between your teeth. Use an up-and-down motion to dislodge biofilm, and then curve the floss around the base of each tooth to clean biofilm from beneath the gumline. It’s best to use a new, clean section of floss for each tooth.
Some people have difficulty using traditional floss, but everyone needs to clean between their teeth. If you have limited mobility, large spaces between your teeth or if you wear braces, ask your dentist about alternative flossing methods that may be easier for you.
3. Professional Cleanings
Professional cleanings are an important part of biofilm removal. Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may not fully remove your biofilm, and when it remains on your teeth, you could suffer from oral health problems like gum disease. As a general rule, you should have a professional cleaning performed every six months, though your dentist may recommend more frequent visits if you have a lot of biofilm.
During a professional cleaning, your dental hygienist will carefully remove biofilm, plaque and tartar from above and below your gumline with special instruments. He or she may also floss between your teeth to get rid of any lingering biofilm.
Biofilm can cause oral health problems, so it needs to be removed promptly. A good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings will help you effectively remove biofilm and keep your mouth healthy.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
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