Almost anyone who has ever seen a dentist has heard their dentist or dental hygienist encourage them to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. This daily practice serves many basic functions including removing food particles, decreasing plaque (sticky white film that adheres to the tooth), freshens breath, reduces the risk of gum disease and decreases inflammatory cells in the mouth which can have a positive effect on overall systemic health. Most people have heard these reasons many, many times over the years on TV, magazines, and from their dental team.
Brushing and Biofilms
Have you ever wondered why this is so important? The answer lies in the fact that twice daily brushing reduces the biofilm that forms on your teeth. The Webster Dictionary describes biofilm as
“a thin usually resistant layer of microorganisms (such as bacteria) that form on and coat various surfaces.”
Your mouth is full of microorganisms; the goal is to make sure we have the healthy ones present and prevent the disease-causing ones from colonizing.
Disease-causing bacteria are present in the mouth at all times. Ideally these bacteria are kept in a free-floating state and are prevented from adhering to the biofilm. However, when the biofilm is not removed regularly, the bacteria that cause disease become embedded in the biofilm. This is how gum disease or periodontitis gets a foothold in a patient’s mouth.
Daily Defensive Actions
Brushing teeth twice daily and flossing daily are fundamental to keep the virulent or disease-causing bacteria in their free floating, non-attached state. Every time the biofilm is brushed away, the early colonizers or good bacteria are predominantly present. This will keep the disease-causing bacteria in a “holding pattern,” so they cannot adhere to the biofilm.
Why Dentist’s Care
Dentists care about how often you brush because we want you to keep your mouth in the healthiest state possible. We want the healthy bacteria present and want to prevent the disease-causing bacteria from landing on the naturally occurring biofilm.
We care because periodontal disease is a silent disease.
We want to afford patients the opportunity to avoid “disease management” whenever we can. We want to celebrate healthy gums and teeth at every opportunity. Looking at the big picture, clearly the evidence indicates that brushing twice a day protects a patient’s oral health. Avoiding the attachment of disease-causing bacteria will also have a positive effect on a patient’s overall health. Keeping you healthy is the reason why your team at Hogan Family Dental comes to work every day.
Call Hogan Family Dental at (406) 234-2926 to schedule your next dental checkup appointment or email us with your questions.