Biofilm: A New View of Plaque

Pamela R. Overman, EdD, RDH

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  1. A biofilm is _______________.

    • a loose collection of free-floating bacteria

    • a calcified collection of bacteria that cannot be easily removed

    • an acellular translucent, homogeneous film covering moist surfaces

    • a well-organized, cooperating community of microorganisms

  2. A positive use of biofilm is _______________.

    • detoxification of human waste products

    • lining on indwelling catheters

    • coating in fish tanks

    • layer in dental unit water lines

  3. The specific plaque hypothesis would support the following belief:

    • "Where there is more plaque, there is more disease."

    • "All bacteria in plaque contribute to gingivitis and periodontitis."

    • "Calculus plays a major role in causing periodontitis."

    • "The presence of bacterial plaque is necessary to develop periodontal disease, but not sufficient to guarantee disease."

  4. Researchers currently believe that all of the following bacteria play a role as periodontal pathogens EXCEPT:

    • T. pallidum

    • P. gingivalis

    • A. actinomycetemcomitans

    • B. forsythus

  5. Scientists have had difficulty in identifying specific periodontal pathogens because _______________.

    • periodontal pockets contain both pathogens and non-pathogens

    • the different bacteria in periodontal pockets require different culture media

    • periodontal disease goes through active and quiescent periods

    • All of the above.

  6. To study biofilms, scientists have used newer microscopy techniques such as _______________.

    • wet mount microscopy

    • scanning electron microscopy

    • confocal scanning laser microscopy

    • smear microscopy

  7. Which of the following characteristics is typical of a bacteria in a biofilm?

    • Bacteria communicate with each other by sending out chemical signals.

    • Bacteria are dispersed more or less evenly through the plaque.

    • The environment surrounding bacteria consists of the same or similar pHs.

    • Bacteria exist in isolation from each other.

  8. Given the nature of bacteria in biofilm, which techniques may be helpful in controlling oral biofilms?

    • Keep bacteria from communicating with each other.

    • Prevent fluid flow between microcolonies of bacteria in a biofilm.

    • Change the oxygen concentration with the biofilm microenvironments.

    • All of the above.

  9. How can a subgingival biofilm formation protect periodontal pathogens from locally delivered antimicrobial agents?

    • The biofilm prevents the antimicrobial agent from entering the periodontal pocket.

    • The biofilm matrix serves as a protective barrier.

    • The biofilm fluid channels direct the antimicrobial agent out of the pocket.

    • The biofilm changes the pH of the antimicrobial agent and inactivates the agent.

  10. Possible new strategies to control oral biofilms include all of the following EXCEPT:

    • Control of biofilm nutrient sources.

    • Alteration of pH within biofilm microcolonies.

    • Varying the oxygen concentration within biofilm.

    • Addition of systemic antibiotics.

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