In a recent University of Washington study published in July 2021, the extraordinary role played by white blood cells called neutrophils was revealed.
Neutrophils can migrate from the bloodstream and gums into plaque biofilm. Healthy, thin biofilm provides neutrophils with pathways to the crevices between teeth & gums. This enables them to monitor & regulate oral bacterial populations encroaching on the gumline.
When all is good with the neutrophils, your oral microbiome is able to maintain stable, healthy homeostasis.
However, for neutrophils to function normally, conditions in the plaque biofilm have to be optimal. If bacterial plaque accumulates and hardens into calculus (aka tartar), neutrophils can no longer regulate and assist with normal tissue function in these affected areas.
Keep your plaque biofilm in good condition
The main take away from the study is to brush, floss and rinse regularly to prevent plaque build up thus maintaining healthy oral homeostasis.
Popular notions of oral hygiene need to be readdressed also. Study author, Dr. Richard Darveau explained, “The idea of oral hygiene is to in fact recolonise the tooth surface with appropriate bacteria that participate with the host inflammatory response to keep unwanted bacteria out.”
- Bamashmous, S., Kotsakis, G., Kerns, K., Leroux, B., Zenobia, C., Chen, D., Trivedi, H., McLean, J. and Darveau, R., 2021. Human variation in gingival inflammation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(27), p.e2012578118.