14 Germ Facts About the Human Mouth

Have you been slacking on brushing or flossing your teeth lately? Here are 14 little facts that can motivate you and help you keep your mouth clean:

1. A typical human mouth contains billions of bacteria, and if you haven’t brushed your teeth lately, you might have more bacteria in your mouth right now than there are people living on planet Earth!

2. Both humans and dogs have mouths that are full of bacteria, and both contain roughly the same number of bacteria. But there are more than 100 different germs in dog saliva that can make humans sick.

3. If you drop food on the floor it starts to pick up germs from the moment it hits the floor whether you pick it up within 5 seconds or 5 minutes.

4. Periodontal disease is not contagious. While bacteria that lead to gum disease can pass through saliva, gum disease typically develops if your teeth and gums aren’t healthy. Dr. Ashley L. Reynolds recommends brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

5. You should never share a toothbrush with someone else. Dr. Reynolds warns that it increases the risk for oral infections.

6. Germs may be present on lipstick (including “tester” lipstick at cosmetics counters), lip balm, drinking glasses, band instruments and many other items that may sometimes be shared. We at Crescent Orthodontics stress that you don’t share personal items if you want to avoid picking up potentially harmful bacteria, viruses or other microbes.

7. Keeping your toothbrush in a closed container creates an ideal moist environment for the growth of bacteria. Dr. Reynolds recommends rinsing your toothbrush with tap water after you use it, then letting it air-dries. Dr. Reynolds also recommends this for retainers or other dental devices that you put in your mouth.

8. You should replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, sooner if the bristles are frayed.

9. Antiseptic mouthwashes keep your breath fresh and reduces the film of bacteria that forms on teeth (plaque) and gum inflammation (gingivitis). Dr. Reynolds recommends rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

10. Green tea has been associated with healthier gums and lower odds of tooth loss.

11. While some bacteria are bad for your teeth and gums, others are critical to keeping them healthy. In fact, some helpful organisms in your mouth secrete substances that kill bad bacteria.

12. Most of the bacteria in your mouth are part of a sticky film on your teeth known as plaque, which is the main cause of tooth decay. A single tooth can host 500 million bacteria!

13. When you eat, the bacteria on your teeth excrete acids that can weaken tooth enamel. Keep in mind that using fluoride toothpaste and other fluoride products, like mouth rinses, help strengthen enamel and prevent cavities.

14. Bacteria have been linked with a number of chronic inflammatory disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Improving your smile makes it that much easier to maintain your oral health and oral hygiene! If you haven’t already, contact Dr. Reynolds today at Crescent Orthodontics at 248-437-3377 to discover how you can benefit from orthodontic treatment including early Phase I Interceptive treatment, comprehensive braces and Invisalign®.

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