Biofilm and the Role of Dentistry in Integrated Healthcare Systems: Part Two

Biofilm and the Role of Dentistry in Integrated Healthcare Systems: Part Two

Jun 15, 2021

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Microbial biofilms are complex clusters of bacteria that attach to a surface and can be found throughout the human body. Scientific evidence and medical science have recognized bacterial biofilm as a reservoir for pathogenic bacteria and the role it plays in the pathogenesis of the disease. The cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems are examples of different body systems with biofilm-associated diseases. The impact of pathogenic bacteria on systemic health has emphasized the identifying and treatment of biofilm-related diseases. 

Dental infections are biofilm-related. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, 700 species of bacteria can live in the mouth. People with poor oral hygiene can have between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria living on each tooth. Furthermore, pathogens found in periodontal disease are linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

It has been 20 years since the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health was released and alerted Americans on the relationship between oral health and general health and wellbeing. Since then, science, research, and technologies have advanced tremendously, but the public still needs integrated care. It is time for dental professionals to be recognized for their role in identifying and managing oral biofilm and the associated inflammation and its impact on systemic health, the bridge between medicine and dentistry! 

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