Almost everyone, regardless of their pristine personal hygiene standards, deals with bacteria and its damaging effects. Mouths present bacteria with the perfect environment — it's damp, humid, and warm. To find out more about the part these tiny microorganisms play in mouth health, read on.
The Bacteria-Plaque Connection
In most cases, a bit of bacteria is of no consequence. Your natural defense system can fight against a certain level and no harm comes from it. The problem is when bacteria multiply too rapidly or are not removed often or soon enough. When you eat or drink, you add to the mouth's bacterial load, and it mixes with food, sugar, and carbs to form an acid that sticks stubbornly to your teeth. At some point, brushing and flossing are less effective because the sticky substance hardens to become what is known as plaque.
The Dangers of Plaque
Once the bacteria morphs into plaque, your mouth can fall prey to both cavities and gum diseases. Your enamel is weakened and develops cracks. Your teeth can also become loose, moving around a bit rather than staying stable and steady. Then, your gums begin to weaken and become prone to abscesses and more serious infections. Unfortunately, prolonged inattention to your gum issues can also cause your jawbones to break down and weaken. Weak jawbones will not only lead to a sagging lower face area, but you may need bone grafts in some cases.
What You Can Do
None of the things above need to happen. You have the power to stop bacteria before it damages your teeth and gums just by taking the basic steps below:
- Get rid of the bacteria by brushing after every meal or snack. Brushing is amazingly effective if you do it often enough. Never forget to brush before going to bed — it's probably the most important time to do it. Pay special attention to your gum line but don't overdo it and create more problems.
- Brushing doesn't get in between your teeth and that is what floss is for. Call your dentist if you notice any pink or red on your floss. You might have the beginnings of gum disease and if caught early, the damage can be mitigated.
- Drink plenty of water and let your dentist know if you suffer from a dry mouth due to medications or other issues. You need plenty of saliva to rinse away bacteria. Your dentist may suggest gums, sprays, or rinses to help with your dry mouth.
Talk to your dentist to learn more about dealing with the ravages of bacteria in your mouth.