Much ado has been made about the bacteria that reside in your mouth. You know by now that brushing and flossing at least twice a day controls the accumulation of bacteria and plaque to help fight infections such as tooth decay and gum disease. However, not all of your oral bacteria are bad. Your Sheridan dentists at Grinnell Street Dental provide the following facts to help you better understand the inhabitants of your oral cavity.
- At any given time, there are between 10-50 billion bacteria in your mouth. However, out of the 75-100 different species, only a few of them are harmful. The remainder assists in neutralizing acids and warding off their harmful counterparts.
- When you eat, especially food high in sugar, the malicious bacteria in your mouth digest the ingredients and excrete acids over the surfaces of your teeth. Confine eating to larger meals and refrain from snacking throughout the day to reduce the number of times acid is secreted onto your teeth.
- If food falls on the floor, it picks up more bacteria the longer it remains. Contrary to the five-second rule, though, it begins to collect bacteria the second it lands. You would be better off throwing it away.
- Another myth that has proved untrue is the belief that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. The truth is both humans and dogs have roughly the same number of bacteria, and dogs’ mouths contain more than 100 different germs that can make you sick.
- The main tooth decay-causing oral bacteria, Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), was not always the fiend it is today. Before humans began refining sugar, the bicarbonate ions in our saliva were sufficient to neutralize the acid S. mutans produced. This microbe has an insatiable appetite for refined sugars, and our mouth’s natural defenses cannot counteract the excessive acids.
Your mouth is an ecosystem, and like all ecosystems, balance is key to optimum performance. Maintain a disciplined oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing every day, to prevent the over-accumulation of bad bacteria in your mouth. To learn more about your dental health, contact our Sheridan dental office at (307) 672-7567 to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and the surrounding communities.