What is Oral Bacteria? How Can It Affect Your Oral Health?

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What is Oral Bacteria? How Can It Affect Your Oral Health?
Can you imagine having 700 kinds of bacteria inside your oral cavity even if you maintain daily oral hygiene? Sounds like a huge number, but not all oral bacteria are harmful to you.

What Is Oral Bacteria?

Oral bacteria could be beneficial or harmful to our health, depending on the balance between good and bad microbes. Our body is the host of different microorganisms, they play an essential role in our body and maintain normal body functions. However, if these microorganisms reproduce excessively, there might be consequences on the overall health. While some of the bad oral bacteria can affect our oral gum health, the good oral bacteria can actually good for our teeth and gums. So what role do these bacteria play in our gum health?

Harmless Oral Bacteria VS Harmful Oral Bacteria

Bacteria are not always invasive, some harmless oral bacteria are beneficial to our physical health as they aid our body in digestive processes.

Harmless Oral Bacteria

Studies have found that some bacteria such as Streptococcus and Neisseria are good for maintaining the health of our oesophagus. It has been proven that Neisseria affects partially the decomposition of toxic substances such as cigarettes. Besides, some harmless bacteria help to produce adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and also help to balance our hormones. (1)

Harmful Oral Bacteria

Harmful oral bacteria will bring health problems to our teeth and bodies. Some bad oral bacteria like Streptococcus mutans may produce excessive acid that may lead to tooth decay. Also, Fusobacterium is another bacteria that can affect our overall health, as it may lead to colorectal cancer.

Oral Bacteria and Dental Problems

Most of the dental problems stem from excessive amounts of harmful oral bacteria. Dental plaque is the culprit of a majority of tooth diseases. When your mouth accumulates too much oral bacteria and without proper cleansing, they will eventually become dental plaque and adhere to the surface or edges of your teeth. If you don't manage your oral hygiene well, it will cause other serious dental health problems such as periodontal disease.

Tooth decay is one of the more common dental problems. Dental plaque will dissolve the food's saccharine into oxygen, and it will lead to the loss of minerals in your teeth. In the long run, it will result in tooth decay.

Furthermore, excessive dental plaque will result in periodontitis and periodontal disease. As the bacteria will stimulate your gums, these bacteria will destroy your periodontium and lead to periodontal disease. Many studies have shown that people with periodontal disease might have higher chances of being diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, we must not estimate the importance of maintaining daily oral health routine.

Tips on maintaining oral health

1. Choose the right toothbrush for you

Most dentists suggest using a compact-head toothbrush or medium-bristle toothbrush to help remove plaque and food particles effectively. Different bristle patterns may have different cleansing efficacy. For example, the surface area of the spiral bristles is maximized to reach and clean the most of every tooth. You can also choose an electric toothbrush as they have a better cleaning effect and are gentler on gums.

2. Practice proper brushing techniques

It is suggested to brush our teeth at least twice a day and two minutes each time with the correct brushing techniques and strength. According to American Dental Association (2), to brush your teeth properly, it is recommended to hold your toothbrush at 45-degree angle to the gum, and move back and forth gently. We should also clean the outer and the inner surfaces, make sure you clean the chewing surface of your teeth. For the inside surfaces of your front teeth, hold your toothbrush vertically, and move up and down when brushing

3. Use a mouthwash

Using a mouthwash in your oral regime can help to clean and remove food that is stuck between your teeth, and help to prevent bad breath.

4. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months

We should change the toothbrush every 3 months or when it is worn out. A worn-out toothbrush may affect the effectiveness of teeth cleansing or even be harmful to your gum tissues.

Your mouth serves as the gateway to your body for lots of invisible bacteria that may invade and affect your health. Keep your oral hygiene every day with proper oral care.

This article is intended to promote understanding of the topic of oral health and promote relevant knowledge and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any questions about medical conditions or treatment, always seek opinions from a dentist or other qualified health care provider.
(1) Mouth bacteria linked to esophageal cancer, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320232
(2) Brushing Your Teeth, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth