We all have bacteria in our mouth, good and bad. But what exactly do these bacteria do? We’ve got all kinds of information on the role bacteria play in your oral health. Learn more about those pesky bacteria in your mouth!
There are anywhere between 500 and 1,000 different kinds of bacteria in our mouths.
Babies’ mouths are free of bacteria at birth. However, bacteria is transferred into their mouths from their mothers within hours of birth, mainly through kissing and food sharing.
Saliva flushes harmful bacteria out of the mouth by making it hard for bacteria to stick to the surfaces of our teeth.
Some foods can also flush bacteria from the teeth. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery stimulate the gums, while acidic fruits like apples increase saliva production to wash the teeth clean.
The tongue holds a significant portion of the mouth’s bacteria. It’s just as important to clean the tongue as it is to brush and floss, because bacteria on the tongue contributes to gum disease and bad breath. Try using a plastic or metal tongue scraper to clear out bacteria!
Hormonal changes during pregnancy put soon-to-be mothers at a higher risk of tooth erosion. Morning sickness and general hormonal changes cause acidity in the mouth to increase, which in turn erodes enamel.
Smoking increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Not all bacteria are bad; in fact, some are even necessary to maintain hygienic balance. However, smoking tobacco destroys helpful bacteria in the mouth, which promotes the growth of harmful oral bacteria.
Oral bacteria multiply in number every 4-5 hours. No wonder it’s so important to brush teeth twice a day!
Who knew something so small could have such a big impact on your oral health! Make sure to schedule regular dental exams with Benjamin W. DeShetler, D.D.S. to keep oral bacteria under control for a clean, healthy smile!