Written on Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020
Author: Chris Whitfield
Did you know that your mouth is home to an incredible number of germs, including about 700 different types of oral bacteria and fungus? Scientists call these germs oral microbes. According to the National Institutes of Health, some microbes are good for you. Others lead to oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
Your problems start when microbes left to thrive in your mouth form plaque, that sticky and colorless film that builds up on your teeth. Tooth brushing and flossing clean this oral bacteria away. But the microbes keep coming back, making it very important that you keep up with a good oral hygiene routine. That routine should include twice daily tooth brushing and daily flossing.
Oral bacteria and other mouth microbes grow throughout your mouth, but in different places. Some stay on your teeth, while others stick to the tongue, in gum pockets or on the roof of your mouth. But everywhere in your mouth that you can find one type of bacteria, you generally can find a diverse community of microbes.
Like any community, the microbes build their own defense system. This defense system helps them stay on their preferred spots. Their defense is the matrix material that makes plaque sticky and slimy. When you feel your teeth have a sticky film on them after eating or waking up in the morning, this is your microbe community at work. Even when you do not feel the stickiness, unseen oral bacteria is attacking your teeth and gums.
Each of your microbe communities contain helpful and harmful players. Some good ones keep too many bad ones from growing out of control. They play a role in your food digestion. Good microbes also keep food-borne invaders from joining the community of oral bacteria and other germs.
Your habits can help bad oral bacteria increase their numbers and branch out to other areas of your mouth. These bad habits that bring on more unhealthy microbes include drinking and eating sugary substances. Some microbes love sugar and use it to make more of their sticky matrix and acid. Acid damages your tooth surfaces, causing tooth decay and gum disease.
There are also good habits that help you fight bad microbes and enable the good ones to aid you in your fight. These good habits include limiting sugar intake and home care that includes twice daily tooth brushing and daily flossing. They also include going to visit your dentist twice yearly for routine oral exams, teeth cleanings and dental X-rays.
According to dental experts studying microbes at the Forsyth Institute, many types of oral bacteria work together in teams. This helps them grow, survive and prosper.
At the University of Pennsylvania, dental researchers point out that about 23 percent of American children ages one to five years have tooth decay. The negative players in the microbe community lead the charge to cause these oral health problems. But oral bacteria are not the only stars of these bad communities. Fungus partners with the bacteria to make tooth decay worse, starting with creation of more matrix and acids.
Mouth fungus gets more energy from the sugars released by bacteria. Oral bacteria release these sugars as they create acid on your teeth. The sugars power the fungus, which in turn release substances that feed the bacteria. It creates a cycle only your tooth brushing, flossing, oral health care and good dietary habits can interrupt.
Tooth brushing and flossing are your first line of defense in protecting yourself from mouth microbes. Another way to fight tooth decay and gum disease is to learn more about your oral health needs. During a routine dental visit at Carolina Dental Arts, your dentist answers your questions. They also keep you fully informed about your oral condition.
Carolina Dental Arts has an office in Goldsboro, North Carolina and two locations in Raleigh, North Carolina. Schedule your next visit today by calling the office near you.