My mom told me to never read the writing on the bathroom walls. It’s all smut, she said, as she aired her grievances about the kinds of people who would deface the sides of a perfectly good crapper bunker. It’s not like you learn anything valuable or important… you’re never going to find a ransom letter or the winning lottery numbers to Texas Powerball. You’re definitely not going to learn about Biofilm and pathogens that can cause periodontal disease. Whoa!
CUT TO Dr. Neal Shah standing in his office wearing light blue scrubs with a white coat that’s billowing behind him like a cape. A well known biofilm-researching enthusiast, he’s very importantly explaining its role in oral health.
“So what is this ‘Biofilm’ stuff, you ask? It’s a complex pellicle of microorganisms that stick to each other to form colonies of gram-negative bacteria, viruses, and yeasts into a matrix of extracellular polymeric substance. In other words, it’s the slimy funk that grows in your mouth.”
CAMERA PANS TO NARRATOR WHO IS SIPPING ON A MARTINI
I once forgot my toothbrush on a family vacation when I was 13. I accumulated copious amounts of this “biofilm” and it was absolutely disgusting. I also had braces at the time! Thinking about all the germs and gunk that were in there makes me want rinse out my whole mouth with vodka.
CAMERA PANS BACK TO DR SHAH
“We actually now know that the bacteria, viruses, and yeast colonies reside not only on your teeth and gums, but also line the cheeks, throat, tongue, and floor of the mouth. Like elsewhere in the body, there is a delicate balance that exists between the healthy organisms in the mouth and the unhealthy ones. And anything that tips the scales in the wrong direction can have detrimental repercussions ranging from tooth decay to gum disease to ‘stank breath’, all the way to the serious stuff like oral cancer.”
CUT TO A GREEN MONSTER CRAWLING AROUND A MOUTH
Yo boiii. I’m a gross ol’ pathogen and I’m gonna give you a raunchy case of periodontal disease! HAHA! Yeah, son! I’m gonna make it so your gums bleed every time a hygienist pokes your gums with those sharp metal tools! I’m gonna invite my friends and they’re gonna give you health probz, too!
CUT TO SLIGHTLY TIPSY NARRATOR
There’s this thing called the “Oral-Systemic Connection” which suggests that periodontal disease can be associated with heart disease, birth complications, diabetes, and stroke (among many, many other issues). That’s a serious gateway problem! So how do you keep those pathogens from getting there in the first place? And how can you identify if you’re at risk? It starts with good diagnostics and Dr. Shah is utilizing a service called OralDNA. Here are his #hotpoints!
- OralDNA is a type of salivary testing that can be done to help identify loads of different pathogens that can be crashing your oral health and directly causing gum disease.
- Super easy to do. All you have to do is spit and we put it in a bank vacuum tube that shoots it into a lab far, far away.
- Once the type and amount of organisms in your mouth are identified, we can formulate a plan specifically for you! Total Mouth Disinfection is the name of the game.
In case you’re super jazzed about OralDNA and biofilm, check out these riveting reads from the OralDNA blog:
The Salivary Crystal Ball – Part 1
Periodontal Disease, Perio Pathogens and Rocket Science
We want you to be begging for more… like how everyone wanted that third Hangover movie… so next time, we’ll tell you the systemic effects on the rest of the body when biofilm isn’t being managed properly. You’ll be interested and surprised to see how many disease states are relatable to biofilm.
Since this is so important, maybe we should write it on a bathroom wall! Sorry, mom.