A biofilm is a polysaccharide layer that nourishes and nurtures various species of microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Dental tubing is narrow and holds a small amount of water. This water is mostly in contact with the inner lining of the waterline. When there are microorganisms in the water, they can easily take hold on the tubing’s inner surface and form slimy biofilm to protect them as they multiply inside the system.
Biofilm: A reservoir for potentially harmful microorganisms
The development of biofilm and bacterial proliferation in dental tubing is well-documented. Some studies report that untreated units have as much as 1,000,000 colony-forming units per milliliter (CFU/ml) a few days after installation.
Dental waterline biofilm is a significant threat to health. Effective control of biofilm is only possible with clinically tested chemical germicides. Regular maintenance of dental tubing is necessary in dental practice to determine the quality of the water.
One of the most pertinent monitoring activities is dental waterline testing, especially in clinics patronized by a good number of clientele. Testing kits are available from reputable manufacturers.
Improving water quality to promote the health and well-being of patients
Improving water quality for use in patient care is one of the biggest responsibilities of dental practitioners. An array of devices offering varied modes of improving water quality is available commercially.
However, there’s no guarantee that these water conditioning systems can effectively deal with biofilm. Use them alongside equipment that offers ultraviolet germicidal irradiation or filtration to boost water quality.
It’s likely that unfiltered and untreated dental water will support the proliferation of microorganisms, some of which could cause diseases in people with weak immune systems. Bacterial contamination is a health risk if biofilm remains within a closed system.
It hardly matters that the species found in these systems are not especially dangerous to human health. While the health problems that may assail patients with strong immune systems are limited, there’s significant risk to those with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and very young children.