Did you know that your mouth is host to a number of different strains of bacteria? Bacteria are tiny living organisms that move, grow, eat, reproduce, and more. It is important to understand the role of bacteria in your mouth and its potential effects on your oral health. While there are helpful bacteria that reside within the mouth, the wrong types of bacteria play a central role in causing problems that affect your teeth and gums, such as:
Tooth Decay – When harmful bacteria, the most common known as streptococcus mucus, interacts with the wrong types of food, this leads to plaque and tooth decay on the teeth. This type of bacteria is most often developed as a result of consuming foods with refined sugar, such as soft drinks, sweets, energy drinks, and other processed foods. The interaction of this bacteria with refined sugar in these types of food triggers a release of waste that harms the teeth. As well, the consumption of processed foods packed with refined sugars limits the intake of critical vitamins such as A, D, and C which are critical to the protection of healthy teeth.
Gum Disease – Gum disease is caused by the spread and impact of harmful bacteria within the mouth. There are two types of bacteria that are most commonly associated with gum disease – Treponema denticola and Porphyromonas gingivalis. When these types of bacteria gain an advantage in the mouth, they play a detrimental role in disrupting cultures of healthy, normal bacteria which leads to inflammation.
How can a person fight against the harmful effects of these bacteria within their mouth to ensure the best oral health possible? A solid oral health routine goes far in preventing the wrong bacteria from causing harmful decay and inflammation. To fight bacteria, stay vigilant with the following:
1 – Brush your teeth twice per day, and do not forget to brush your tongue and gums (gently) as well.
2 – Floss at least once per day. This helps to dislodge and disrupt the bacteria that reside under the gum line.
3- Maintain regular dental cleaning exams every six months. Your hygienist is able to remove layers of plaque and tartar that is not possible to remove in your at-home regimen.
4 – Keep a diet low in processed foods and refined sugars. Harmful bacteria thrive on sugars. The more you can starve them of their lifeline, the more likely you will overcome their impact in your mouth.
As always, we at River Valley Smiles are here to help you have the best oral health possible. We will encourage you in your at-home dental routine and help answer any specific questions you have to overcome oral health hurdles. We’d love to help you schedule an appointment with one of our amazing hygienists.