What’s This Sticky Film on My Gums?

A thin layer of bacteria, biofilm, can stick on almost any surface. That’s why your gums and teeth feel like they’ve been covered in slime when you wake up in the morning. Biofilm is normal and happens to everyone—even if you brush, floss and rinse with a mouthwash. But when you don’t remove the biofilm on a daily basis, it can build and develop into dental plaque.

Dental plaque develops when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, and produce acids as a result. Over time, these acids wear down tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Plaque can also develop on the tooth roots under the gum and cause breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth. A person with super-solid home dental care, who brushes, flosses, and swishes daily, can control and minimise the build-up of dental plaque. However when you clean and rinse your gums and teeth less frequently, biofilm can harden into tartar (typically yellow in colour) and gets thicker which only dental professionals and their professional tools can remove.