Oral Bacteria: What’s Lurking in Your Mouth?

By June 16, 2014Uncategorized

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There is a lot of bacteria in the human mouth. The mouth contains a community of microorganisms and bacteria. This bacteria inhabits multiple surfaces in the mouth and are primarily classified as ‘biofilm’. These communities of bacteria adhere to the gums and cheeks and are for the most part harmless, whereas others are essential to breaking down foods for digestion. There are a couple varieties of bacteria, however, that are harmful to oral health and must be controlled with good oral hygiene and a healthy diet. Here is a look at two of the most common harmful oral bacteria that could be lurking in your mouth and what you can do to manage bacteria.

Harmful Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans–This is one of the most common harmful oral bacteria found in the human mouth. This bacteria is one of the main causes of tooth decay since it thrives on starches and sugars found in a lot of foods. The bacteria produces acids that can erode the enamel of teeth over time as a result of this sugar and starch consumption. Keeping your teeth cleaned is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the buildup of this type of bacteria.

Porphyromonas gingivalis– This bacteria is known to cause periodontitis and is typically not present in a healthy mouth. Poor oral hygiene and diet can, over time, lead to the emergence of this bacteria. Periodontitis is a serious oral disease that gradually progresses and affects the tissues of the mouth and the alveolar bone that supports the teeth. This disease can lead to total loss of the teeth if not halted and corrected, and this bacteria is partly responsible.

Managing Oral Bacteria

Most oral bacteria in the average mouth is harmless and can be managed through healthy diet and oral care. Still other bacteria is critical to digestion. Harmful bacteria like the above mentioned varieties are the ones that need to be managed wisely to prevent oral diseases and poor dental hygiene. The most common and effective form of managing oral bacteria is through daily brushing and flossing. This removes the source of the harmful bacteria by eliminating food particles between the teeth and gums and helps prevent the bacteria from reproducing. Also, using antibacterial mouthwash is an effective additional step to kill harmful bacteria.

Beyond consistent oral hygiene, diet also plays an important role in preventing harmful bacteria from accumulating in the mouth. Since a lot of microorganisms thrive on sugars and starches it is important to reduce consumption of these types of foods and promote healthier bacteria by regularly eating healthier foods like fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating less of certain high sugar and starch items and being vigilant about cleaning your teeth after eating is a reliable way to prevent harmful bacteria from thriving in your mouth and causing dental problems over time. Managing oral bacteria comes down to maintaining good oral hygiene and making twice yearly dental checkups with your Utah Orthodontist.