Do Healthy People Really Have Bacteria in Their Mouths?

Posted on: June 2, 2018

There is more to the human mouth than meets the eye. As an example, the human mouth is full of bacteria that are not visible. The question is whether bacteria are necessary and whether it is in the mouths of all people. Indeed, every type of mouth has bacteria. However, some mouths have more bacteria than others. Furthermore, some mouths have more of the harmful type of bacteria than bacteria that do not pose a threat.

Bacteria in the mouth

The average human mouth, regardless of whether it is healthy or unhealthy, is home to billions of bacteria. Bacteria are a considerable portion of the mouth's ecosystem. There are nearly as many bacteria in the average mouth as there are people on the planet. These billions of bacteria work, feed, excrete waste, mate, perish and generally live the cycle of life within the mouths of those who are healthy as well as those who are unhealthy.

Bad bacteria

The bad bacteria, known as pathogenic bacteria, pose a number of threats to oral health. This form of bacteria spurs decay, gradual gum inflammation and eventual tooth loss. Called Streptococcus mutans, these threats to oral health feed on the starches and sugar in the mouth and generate acid that erodes tooth enamel. This bacterium is the primary cause of tooth decay as well as a litany of other oral health diseases.

Benign bacteria

Some of the microbes in a person's mouth are helpful. Benign bacteria, also known as probiotics, assist with overarching oral health and wellness. All in all, about 700 species of bacteria have the potential to reside in the mouth. These tiny microbes are alive even if they are not sentient.

Bacteria's role in oral health

Aside from brushing and flossing, the potential exists for reducing the harmful bacteria growth in the mouth by eating healthy. Those who cut down on their consumption of carbohydrates and sugars have less nasty bacteria present. This means cutting out processed foods and baked items like muffins, pretzels, cakes and cookies.

Bacteria fueled by simple carbohydrates and sugars multiply at an incredibly fast rate, latch onto one another and form a biofilm known as plaque. Plaque is the main cause of 90 percent of dental disease as bacteria generate nasty waste that is acidic. Anything acidic is a direct threat to the integrity of the teeth. Acid weakens tooth strength, wears away at the surface and gradually causes decay.

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