September 2013

The Never Ending Pest - Biofilm

As the cause for two of the most common oral diseases - caries and periodontal disease - dental biofilm can be a huge problem for many people. From the moment a baby is born and takes its first breath, microbes begin to reside in and colonise the mouth. Unfortunately, mothers are usually the ones to introduce pathogenic bacteria to their babies by tasting food, sharing utensils or doing anything that transfers their saliva to their children.

Once the teeth erupt, oral bacteria is free to wreck havoc. If left untreated, the biofilm causes inflammation of the tissue that can ultimately result in tooth loss if left untreated in a susceptible host. It is important to understand that 'plaque' is not simply a film on the teeth but a complex community of bacteria that reside in a well-organized matrix with resistance to antimicrobial agents. Hence, professional debridement plays a key role in eliminating biofilm. The goal is to keep the oral flora in balance with the understanding that biofilm cannot be totally eradicated from the mouth. The most important strategy in maintaining this balance is an effective oral health routine.

Does a Waterpik® Water Flosser Remove Biofilm?

Absolutely, without question. In fact, biofilm removal with the Water Flosser has been proven repeatedly. One of the most important studies is the one conducted by the late Dr. Costerton, who coined the term biofilm. In his own words: "The results were almost impossible for me to believe the first time through. One of the difficulties with plaque biofilm is that you really can't see it, it's clear. So we didn't have visual evidence of complete removal. But now with these direct methods, the scanning electron microscope, you apply a Waterpik® Water Flosser to plaque on the surface of a tooth and you look with a scanning scope and it's gone. It's simply gone. And that's unequivocal and unarguable"

To read other studies on biofilm removal and the benefits of a Waterpik® Water Flosser go to

Facts & Figures

  • Gingivitis affects 15 - 20% of the world's population, but the statistics in the UK are much higher.
  • In the UK, 10 - 15% of adults have severe periodontitis, with many more being affected by milder conditions.
  • Stress can affect periodontal disease and can make the infection more severe and harder to fight. One study found high levels of financial stress and poor coping abilities can lead to a twofold increase in the likelihood of developing periodontal disease.
  • A growing body of research links periodontal disease to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, preterm and low birth weight babies, and respiratory disease.
  • Family history, stress and smoking are believed to be three of the main risk factors associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease.