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The Bacterial War in your Mouth

By HERWriter
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Dental & Oral Health related image MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Whenever I think of bacteria, I think of those super-magnified pictures we see of microscopic organisms that look like little bugs. I don’t like bugs of any size. Fortunately, I don’t have any such pictures to go along with my article, today, but if what I’m about to tell you creeps you out—even without the pictures—I’m afraid there’s not much I can do about that. The truth isn’t pretty.

There are between 10 and 15 billion (that’s ‘billion’ – with a ‘b’) bacteria from over 600 bacterial species present in your mouth at any given time. The variety, type, and amount of bacteria vary from person to person meaning no one person has the exact same bacterial conditions as someone else. Think of it as your own personal oral-bacterial fingerprint – now don’t you feel special?

Bad Mouth Bacteria

While there is good and bad bacteria, most bacteria in the mouth is considered harmful. It is when the good bacteria is overrun with bad bacteria that bad things like cavities, gum disease, periodontal disease, bad breath, and abscesses. The sides, tip, and top of the tongue, cheek, palette, teeth, and gums all carry a different variety of bacteria.

But, as we have seen in my article, “Gum Disease and Other Health Conditions,” bad dental bacteria have been found to adversely affect other organs and systems if the bacteria spreads. Neisseria (syphilis), treponema (gonorrhea), and Yersinia (associated with fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and implicated in reactive arthritis) are just some of the types of bacteria in your mouth. No one knows yet how the presence of these bacteria affects the development of other conditions.

A couple of mouth-specific bacteria have also been found in the plaque clogging arteries.

Good Mouth Bacteria

On the good side, scientists have discovered three types of bacteria that reside on the tongue that are believed to be responsible for fresh breath. It is also known that certain foods that stimulate saliva production (eg: cheese) can help fight the bad bacteria that causes cavities.

A study in Switzerland has found that bacteria in the saliva can enhance the aroma of fruits and vegetables making them taste better and the flavor last longer.

Keeping Bacterial Balance in your Mouth

A healthy mouth has bacteria that fights off the bad, that’s why it’s so important to maintain good oral hygiene practices to ensure a proper balance of good to bad bacteria. This includes flossing. Flossing breaks up bacterial colonies on the surface of normal teeth preventing tooth decay.

Certain sugary or starchy foods – known as fermentable carbohydrates – may break down in the mouth instead of later on down the digestive tract, and work with bacteria in the bad bacteria already present in your mouth to form an acid that will dissolve minerals in the enamel.

I’ve also mentioned before how important keeping a low alkalinity level in your mouth is essentially to depriving bad bacteria of the ideal environment in which they can thrive and destroy teeth.

As with most things, simple is often better and very effective at combating what seems to be a very complex issue. Keep brushing. Keep flossing. Keep rinsing. And keeping choosing foods and life style habits that with give the good bacteria a fighting chance.

Sources: www.dentistry.com, www.npr.org, www.simplestepsdental.com, www.bacteriality.com

Add a Comment4 Comments

Thank You Darlene.

A friend of mine who worked in a lab once said, "If we were all given a pair a glasses with microscopic lenses that allowed us to go through life seeing EVERYTHING around us... The World would be a very scary place."

I tend to believe that!

If a pair of glasses like these were to ever become available, I would NEVER dare to put them on!

April 7, 2011 - 7:09pm

I believe "Oil Pulling" is an effective method for conquering overrun bacteria in the mouth, while promoting a balance betweeen the good and bad bacteria. When I first tried oil pulling, I felt down right horrible! It pulls all the toxins from not only your mouth but other places in the body as well and the die-off symptoms I experienced were ruthless, to say the least. But that didn't deter me from doing it again. One of my friends who tried it actually spit some of the "contaminated oil" (the foamy oil you're left with after pulling it through your teeth 50 or so times) onto a glass slide and looked at it under a microscope! She said she felt sick to her stomache because she saw what appeared to be itty-bitty tiny parasites or little bugs of some sort moving around in the saliva/oil. I've also heard never to swallow it after it's been pulled because of the toxicity levels in pulled oil, and how toxic it can be if re-introduced back into the body in this form. I assume the affects of that would be similar, if not worse, to the die-off effects I initially experienced when I first tried oil pulling.

Amazingly Creepy to think about how much toxic bacteria is in not only our mouths, but throughout our entire bodies! and how 1 in every 5 people have parasites living in their intestines and don't even know it. This was a concern of mine because I had a tape worm as a child, as a result of eating raw bacon- so I began taking Oil of Oregano, which is known to excavate intestinal parasites via bowel movements and can clearly be seen in the stool, if you do in fact have them. If after a couple of weeks there are no sightings of parasitic activity in the stool, then you're one of the lucky 4 out of 5 people who doesn't have them. I am one of those lucky 4 out of 5 :-)

April 6, 2011 - 5:39am
HERWriter (reply to MissLenaiya)

Thank you for sharing your tip.

Yeah, kind of gross to think of all those bugs...

April 7, 2011 - 11:07am
EmpowHER Guest

I use a Gripit Floss Holder [website link removed by moderator] to floss regularly and keep my teeth and gums healthy. They are very handy. come with their own floss supply that can be advanced in seconds and refilled with floss or dental tape from local drug and grocery stores. Gripits also last a lifetime and don't clog landfills. I've had one for 35 years.

September 26, 2009 - 12:18pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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