Understanding the microscopic biofilm in your mouth

Have you ever wondered what the microscopic organisms in our mouths are called?

Microscopic biofilm in mouth

The microscopic organisms in your body are called a microbiome. The microbiome can be described as an ecosystem of microorganisms and bacteria. Our mouths house the second most diverse community of microorganisms in the body after the gut, and although it may not sound very appealing, having a rich community of oral microbiome is crucial for your overall health. The amount of microbiome you have is dependent on your overall health, and a healthy adult carries approximately 1.5 to 2kg of bacteria in their gut and mouth.


Why is the microbiome important?

The mouth is the gateway to the body and maintaining good oral hygiene not only prevents oral health issues including gum disease, decay and bad breath but also has a positive effect on your overall wellness. When poor oral hygiene occurs, the diversity of good bacteria in the mouth decreases which then creates a bacterial imbalance called dysbiosis.

Causes of oral dysbiosis include:

  • Stress and dehydration. Chronic stress reduces saliva in the mouth, leading to an acidic PH. Saliva provides a good immunological protection and is a reservoir of ions which helps the remineralisation of tooth enamel.

  • Medications that may alter the PH of your saliva.

  • Some oral care products with harsh detergent-based ingredients.

  • Consumption of foods high in processed sugars and refined carbohydrates.

  • Excessive consumption of tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol.

  • Transfer of microorganisms via kissing and oral sex.

When you swallow, oral bacteria can hitch a ride in your saliva and travel throughout the body straight to your gut. Most bacteria will be destroyed by acids in the gut. However, others like Porphyromonas gingivalis, are acid resistant and can trigger the immune system to promote inflammation and gut dysbiosis. Some of the diseases linked to dysbiosis and disruption of intestinal permeability are:

  • Obesity

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Gastrointestinal, colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric cancer

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Numerous neurological disorders

Tiny microorganisms hide in between teeth, under the gums and in small crevices on the tongue and tonsils where their by-products prompt inflammation and tissue destruction. As infection develops, the tissue around the teeth grows week and loosens its grip, allowing pockets to form. This is called attachment loss. The microscopic evaluation of oral bacteria offers the advantage of the earliest possible diagnosis of disease. It allows us to understand if the patient is at a low, moderate or high risk of developing attachment loss.


Identifying and treating dysbiosis

At Lotus Dental, our clinicians take a proactive approach to your oral health. We use a video phase contrast microscope by Leica to identify the bacteria and then use The Larkin Protocol to treat the dysbiosis and inflammation causing bacteria. The Larkin Protocol is based on preparation for health rather than reacting to disease.


Dentist performing oral health assessment on patient

As oral health professionals, this allows us to practise dentistry proactively rather than reactively.


The microscopic evaluation of oral bacteria is as simple as sampling a small amount of plaque taken from the surface of a tooth and placed on a slide to view under the microscope. If dysbiosis is detected during the assessment, our clinicians will provide a treatment plan to eliminate the bad bacteria and to bring your oral microbiome back to health. Microbiome testing has helped us to understand why implants fail in some individuals even though they seem healthy. It also helps us to understand why some patients take a long time to heal after surgical extractions or any other surgical procedures in the mouth.


To eliminate the harmful bacteria, the treatment involves the careful use of lasers and Ozone in the surgery. Patients can use Biosure Ozone tumblers at home.


Further to the microbiome testing, we also offer a detailed bacterial DNA testing to identify the specific bacteria in the oral cavity.

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