What Are the Stages of Biofilm Development?
The formation of a biofilm can be separated into four distinct stages, as the University of Illinois outlines:
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- In stage 1, free swimming microorganisms attach to the oral cavity surface. The process is reversible with good home care and the use of products, such as Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™ Antibacterial Mouthwash, kills the bacteria in the organisms.
- Then, there is a permanent chemical attachment, a single layer where bugs begin making slime. Stage 2 requires disruption with a toothbrush, such as a Colgate® Enamel Health™ 360® Toothbrush, and floss to dislodge the attachment created by the biofilm.
- Next, in stage 3, the early vertical development with channels forms within "towers" in a mature structure.
- Mature structures with seeding and the dispersal of more free swimming microorganisms occurs in stage 4. Pieces can fracture off from the original colony and reestablish elsewhere, starting a new piece of biofilm development.
In the mouth, they are found in plaque, which is a substance that can harden to form calculus (tartar), leading to periodontal disease. Mature biofilms are very destructive to the teeth and surrounding gums, and many other varieties can actually provoke other significant medical health problems as well.
As with most health habits, proper prevention will ensure a lifetime of good oral health. Routine preventive visits to your dentist and dental hygienist will go a long way to avoiding tooth loss, gum disease and other threats to your oral health.