Bacteria Growth In Our Mouths

Bacteria Growth In Our Mouths

Many of us were told as children that there were tiny armies in our mouths which attacked our teeth. The only way to defeat these invaders was to brush our teeth and go to the dentist regularly.

While the bacteria that live in our mouths doesn’t wield the swords and spears of these pretend armies, bacteria can damage our teeth. There are over 700 known strains of bacteria, though most people are host to only 30-75 different types. We also cannot completely eradicate all the bacteria in our mouths.

For one thing, we need the bacteria. Some strains are probiotic and they help break down food for digestion. Other types of bacteria actually strengthen our teeth and gums! However, there are still types of bacteria which are damaging to your oral health.

Top Two Harmful Bacteria

There are two strains of bacteria which commonly cause harm to individuals’ oral health. These are not the most destructive but if left untreated, they can be incredibly harmful.

  • Porphyromonas gingivalis – It is not normally found in a healthy mouth. The presence of this strain of bacteria has been linked to the oral disease periodontitis. If you develop periodontitis, it will progressively damage your jaw bones and the surrounding tissue. This disease can be very painful and can result in tooth loss.
  • Streptococcus mutans – This type of bacteria feeds on the starches and sugars you eat. While it can be found in healthy mouths, you need to be careful to keep it under control. As it eats the leftover sugars and starches on your teeth, it produces an enamel-eroding acid. This leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavities.

Managing Oral Bacteria

Once you have picked up a strain of oral bacteria, it is unlikely you can become rid of it. However, you can take steps to control the bacteria population.

  • Brush after meals – While many people only brush once or twice a day, it is best if you can brush your teeth after every meal. The bacteria will grow unchecked as it digests your meal, so you will want to brush as soon as possible after each meal. There are disposable toothbrushes you can carry if you are caught out and unable to reach your regular toothbrush. If you can, keep a work toothbrush so you can brush after lunch breaks.
  • Protect your toothbrush – It is important to protect your toothbrush. Rinse it off in hot water before and after using it. Do not allow others to borrow your toothbrush. Keep it upright and away from areas where it could be splashed. You don’t want to introduce more bacteria to your mouth via your toothbrush.
  • Floss daily – Brushing just isn’t enough when it comes to protecting your teeth from overactive bacteria. These invisible invaders can easily slip between teeth and avoid the most thorough teeth brushing. You can floss after every meal like brushing. Many people are too vigorous with their floss and can cut their gums, so if you are an exuberant flosser, you may want to stick to just flossing daily.
  • Rinse with mouthwash – An astringent mouthwash act as an antibacterial when you rinse your mouth with it. It will not kill all the bacteria but can keep the growth under control. You should not substitute brushing your teeth with mouthwash. While mouthwash can help control the bacteria, you still need to use a toothbrush to dislodge small bits of food and to thoroughly clean the surface of your teeth.

With regular care and dental visits, you should be able to keep your mouth’s bacterial growth under control and your smile intact.

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