One of the sites of the body that has a large amount of bacteria is the mouth. This makes a lot of sense, since it’s one of the high traffic areas of the body in frequent contact with the “outside world”.
However, unlike other similar organs such as the skin, the mouth tends to have the perfect environment for growth of bacteria. The presence of food particles and sugar provides “food” for them to grow, and the warm temperatures and moisture also provide the right environment for replication.
Are all oral bacteria bad?
One thing that most people do not know is that most bacteria in the mouth are actually harmless. Of course, when they gain access to the blood such as after a dental procedure, they may cause illness as they spread to areas of the body that are supposed to be sterile.
However, even when you take care of your teeth properly, there will always be a bit of bacteria in the mouth but the organisms may not cause as any undue effects on one’s health. The only time when problems arise is when the bacteria are left to proliferate to large numbers.
The negative effects of bacteria in the mouth
There are a number of things that such bacteria can cause, and which call for better oral hygiene. For instance, when there is an abundance of food particles in the form of carbohydrates in the mouth, they can easily break them down to simpler compounds.
This often results in the formation of bad breath and the multiplication of the bacteria in the mouth, since they have a lot of food to work with. In addition to that, they are also likely to invade the teeth and cause damage to the enamel.
This is normally caused by production of acids after breakdown of food in the mouth. Such acids tend to eat into the teeth, causing formation of cavities.
When bacteria in the mouth threaten one’s life
There are instances where such bacteria can also threaten one’s life. For instance, when you undergo invasive procedures such as tooth extraction, the bacteria can spread through the wound into your bloodstream.
Unfortunately, most of this contaminated blood will reach the heart first, and this is why one of the manifestations of this condition is heart disease. These bacteria tend to invade the heart valves, causing a condition known as bacterial endocarditis. Extensive damage to the heart valves can then lead to heart failure and death.
Fortunately, there are many ways of avoiding such problems. For one, you need to make sure that any invasive procedures are carried out by qualified personnel, since they will take all the necessary precautions to ensure that your heart is not infected.
In addition to that, they may also prescribe some prophylactic antibiotics to ensure that you do not suffer from any bacterial spread from the mouth into the bloodstream.
How you can manage the number of bacteria in the mouth
As you can see, despite the fact that bacteria in the mouth are most of the time harmless, it may be a good idea to try to keep them in check to avoid problems such as bad breath.
This is usually very easily done by simply taking good care of your teeth. Brushing after each time you eat will get rid of any food that the bacteria can use to grow, and this means that their numbers will be kept low.
In addition to that, you may also need to have your teeth scaled from time to time. This is because bacteria normally lodge in tartar, and when they do this they cannot easily be removed through simple brushing.
When you have your teeth scaled, you can ensure that they are removed. It is also very important that you learn how to floss your teeth properly, as this is a process that gets rid of food particles that cannot be removed through regular brushing. However, it is only effective when it’s done right.
Alternatively, you can also try out one of the many different kinds of mouthwash available. These do a very good job of killing all the bacteria in the mouth, leaving you with minty fresh breath.
Ron Steve is the author of this informative article. She works with Duncraig Village Dental services, which situated in Perth. She likes helping her readers by giving them simple but effective oral care tips through her blogs.