What Can We Learn About Dental Care from Plaque?

October 2015

Man happy at the dentist's office thanks to plaque removal and careWhat many dentists know is that plaque is a biofilm, a combination of bacteria (500+ types), fungi, and protozoa, that mixes with nutrients from foods and drinks in the mouth to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. When plaque builds up near the gum line, it creates wounds that are the start of periodontal (gum) disease.

Biofilm Communities Teach us About Individualized Care

Most of the historical treatment of gum disease and other bacterial infections has been based on viewing individual bacteria cultures, and treating with antibiotics. What this research and treatment fails to take into account is that free floating single bacteria lead to acute illnesses, but do not typically cause wounds and chronic infections. Bacteria that combine to form protective biofilms are the cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and other chronic illnesses. Plaque buildup in the mouth is one specific form of biofilm that creates wounds that lead to periodontal disease. When gum disease is treated with generic antibiotics not only is this treatment less effective, it can also be detrimental to health as bacteria build stronger resistance to antibiotics. The solution? Personalized treatment. As every biofilm is made up of a unique combination of bacteria and other materials, cases of periodontal infection should receive unique care to remove and prevent future plaque buildup. There should never be a one-size-fits-all approach to dental care, and that goes for plaque wounds and infections.

Periodontal Disease Provides Lessons on Multidisciplinarity

Plaque builds strong defensive systems because more than 500 types of bacteria work together to fortify and protect the colony. Each type of bacteria has its own defensive system, and the more types of bacteria work together, the harder they are to remove. Dentists could learn a lesson from this defensive system. It’s time to break down the silos of medical care, and start working with dental specialist and other medical practitioners to better understand not just how to treat gum disease, but how to protect against it in the first place. Every field of dental and medical care has its own defenses against and treatments for infection, and there is much to be learned by sharing knowledge.

Treatment Changes & Community Building

Dr. Randy Wolcott, a wound care researcher, discovered that many patients treated for infection would relapse. Antibiotics or other therapies removed the initial disease, but did little to treat damaged tissue or prevent future infection. The future of periodontal therapy should take into consideration not only the removal of plaque and bacteria, but actually healing the wounds and preventing recontamination. Most patients who suffer from gum disease relapse numerous times necessitating additional treatment. With the dental community’s shift in focus to preventive care, it makes sense to include treatments to prevent gum disease. Some of the many treatments that protect against future infection include: the application of liquid medications with dental trays worn at home, ozone therapy (shown to improve tissue healing and prevent future infection), and more traditional root planing.

Going Forward

The lessons learned from this surprising source are beneficial for any practice and any dental health concern. It’s time to start taking into consideration unique needs, shared knowledge, and ongoing prevention every time we care for patients.

Acknowledgement to Best Dentist News


Harrow Dental Centre

334 Pinner Road

Harrow. HA14LB

Tel:     020 84272543

Web : www.harrow-dentist.com

Ditch The Smoking Habit for Excellent Oral Health

ditch your smoking habit.October 2015

There are a lot of tobacco users in this country. Whether it’s smoking, dipping, or any other kind of activity, tobacco can leave your mouth, and especially your smile, worse off. Think about it. There are countless carcinogens inside of a single cigarette that can have devastating effects on the appearance of your teeth. Yellow teeth are most often associated with smoking, but your tongue can turn yellow as well. It isn’t just the appearance of your teeth that should be important, your overall health is put into question with each puff. Oral cancer and other ailments are widely associated with tobacco use and for good reason. Gum disease and other ailments can also increase in size and scope when you smoke or dip. Do yourself a favor: stop.

Oral cancer: According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 90% of patients with oral cancer have partaken in tobacco use of some kind. Did you know smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers? Simply put, the longer you use tobacco, the greater your risk for oral cancer.

Gum disease: Tobacco doesn’t just do a number on your teeth, your gums are also caught in the crosshairs. Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it’s more commonly known, accounts for almost 50% of smoking-related diseases. That’s an astronomical number. The only way to combat it is through surgical and nonsurgical treatment.

There’s no such thing as a “safe” tobacco. All tobacco is bad for your oral health, period. There are certain steps you can take to avoid oral cancer or periodontal disease, or both. All it takes is dedication and the willingness to be proactive about your oral and overall health.

  1. Quit smoking. It’s that easy. Your risk of oral health problems is dramatically decreased. The longer you don’t have a puff, your risks are practically depleted.
  1. Go to your dentist regularly. Getting a regular dental checkup can work wonders for your oral health. He or she can detect oral cancer if any symptoms are present.
  1. Practice proper brushing and flossing techniques. Since tobacco has so many harmful carcinogens, it can leave your gums overheated. Brushing and flossing thoroughly can help combat against oral cancer and helps you maintain great dental health.

It’s never too late to kick the smoking habit. Your oral health is a huge concern when it comes to tobacco use. Don’t battle oral cancer or other ailments later on in life. Keep your mouth as healthy as it can possibly be – kick cigarettes, and other tobacco products to the curb.

We are here to help – contact us via our website  www.harrow-dentist.com  or call 02084272543

acknowledgement to Best Dentist News