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Cold, Hard Truth: Protecting the Mouth from Bacteria A typical human mouth contains billions of bacteria. People who have not brushed their teeth lately may have more bacteria than the number of people living on Earth. According to experts, there are 700 strains of mouth-inhabiting microbes.

Most of the bacteria in the mouth are part of the sticky film in the teeth called plaque, the main cause of tooth decay. In fact, a single tooth can host 500 million bacteria. This is why brushing, flossing, and rinsing of the teeth is necessary.

Most of the bacteria in the mouth are caused by the food a person eats. Sometimes, however, bacteria are also caused by a person’s bad oral habits.

The Harmful Toothbrush Research suggests that a used toothbrush is loaded with germs. An uncovered toothbrush can pick up millions of bacteria including E.coli and staphylococci (Staph) bacteria that cause skin infections. Experts recommend rinsing the toothbrush with water and letting it air dry. Keeping it in a closed container is not advisable, as it creates a moist environment for the growth of bacteria.

Sharing a toothbrush with someone else is not advisable. Research suggests that this causes an increased risk of infection. Experts also advise replacing a toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. The main reason for replacement is to make sure that the toothbrush is clean and fully functional.

Five-Second Rule Five-second rule refers to a theory that when someone drops food on the floor, it will not be contaminated with germs if it is picked up within five seconds. Though it is true that the food will get more germs if it stayed longer on the floor, the five-second rule is still a lie. Food starts to pick up bacteria the moment it hits the floor, so that it is unsafe to eat regardless of how long it stays there.

Good and Bad Bacteria Although some bacteria are bad for oral health, there are some that can keep the teeth healthy. Some helpful organisms in the mouth secrete substances that can kill the bad bacteria. Scientists are now exploring a new kind of toothpaste that can create enzymes to prevent plaque formation.

Managing Bacteria To manage the bacteria, dentists recommend brushing after meals and flossing at least once a day. These activities also remove the food source of germs and keep them from reproducing in the mouth. The use of antibacterial mouthwash is also helpful to keep the mouth clean. The bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum disease and other health complications. It is always better to contact a reliable dentist to address oral problems and learn the right way to protect the teeth.

Resources: 013/May/article/SW-281474979087677.cvsp

Cold, hard truth protecting the mouth from bacteria  

A typical human mouth contains billions of bacteria. People who have not brushed their teeth lately may have more bacteria than the number o...

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