Flossing: Is it really necessary???

Have you heard the word biofilm yet in the news?  If not you probably will soon, research is being done at an incredible rate due to it’s link to disease and health.  Biofilms are basically a community of bacteria living together in your body.  In your mouth they are found in the plaque on your teeth.  The biofilm is in a delicate balance of good and not so good bacteria.  If you have more good bacteria the result is usually a healthy environment.   In your mouth, that means your plaque won’t cause gingivitis, periodontal disease or decay.  So some people can actually leave that plaque on their teeth and not have a problem as quickly.  So that friend that tells you they hardly ever floss and their teeth are healthy probably has a great biofilm.  The reverse is true too.  Too many bad bacteria in your plaque biofilm and you will have a disease process occur.  If the bad bacteria are the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, you probably will have gums that become infected and bleed quickly when you don’t brush and floss daily, basically leaving this unhealthy biofilm on your teeth.  This then leads to pockets that form around the teeth and bone loss.  If the bad bacteria in your biofilm are the bacteria that cause decay, then you probably get cavities regularly, especially if you don’t take the steps that help protect your teeth from dental decay.  When you are in for your exam we look at you as an individual and tailor our recommendations to your situation.  We do tell all patient to floss, you never know when your biofilm will change from a healthy environment of bacteria to an unhealthy environment and we want to give you the knowledge and tools to be as healthy as possible.  But if you have bleeding gums, pocketing around your teeth or decay at every visit, flossing and excellent oral home care is a must.  Can you do things to change your biofilm to a healthier balance of bacteria?  This is exactly where the research is heading, and it will definitely change the way we look at health care.