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3 Effective Methods to Remove Biofilm

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Biofilm is the dental technical term for the white, sticky layer of plaque on your teeth. Removing biofilm from your teeth and gumline is critical for your oral health. Read on to learn three ways to remove biofilm.

What is Biofilm?

Biofilm is a layer of bacteria that can accumulate inside or on your body. The sticky white plaque that forms on your teeth and around your gums is a type of dental biofilm. Plaque needs to be removed because it can harden to tartar, also known as dental calculus, which can't be removed at home. Left untreated, biofilm can inflame your gums leading to gingivitis and gum disease.

1. Brushing

Dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush for at least two minutes, twice to three times a day, to remove plaque. Most people don't brush their teeth for that long, so biofilm can hide on your teeth and gumline. Brushing after meals and setting a timer for two minutes can help ensure you're brushing your teeth enough.

When you're brushing, use short back-and-forth strokes or little circles to clean the outside surfaces, inside surfaces, and chewing surfaces of all of your teeth. Remember to brush around your gumline and your back teeth. These places are often skipped, so be diligent.

2. Flossing

Brushing alone won't remove all of the plaque since it can build up between your teeth or underneath your gumline, and it's tough to reach these areas with a toothbrush. To remove biofilm from these hard-to-reach areas, dentists recommend cleaning between your teeth once per day with floss, flossers, interdental brushes, water flossers, or other interdental cleaners.

Some people have difficulty using 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 dental professional about alternative flossing methods or for a demonstration to ensure you're doing it correctly.

3. Professional Cleanings

Professional cleanings are an important part of plaque removal. Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may not fully remove the bacteria. 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 every six months. However, your dentist may prescribe more frequent visits depending on your oral health.

Your dental professional will carefully remove plaque and tartar from above and below your gumline with special instruments during a professional cleaning. They may also floss between your teeth to get rid of any hidden plaque.

Biofilm can cause oral health problems, so it needs to be removed promptly. A good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing, interdental cleaning and regular visits to your dental professionals for professional cleanings will help you effectively remove plaque and keep your mouth healthy.


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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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