Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dental Experts in Colorado Springs Ask: Do You Know What Lives in Your Mouth? PART 1

This three-part article series takes a look at the various microorganisms that live in our mouth and how we can best manage and control them, effectively helping to prevent gum disease.

According to dental experts in Colorado Springs, the average human mouth contains, not millions, but billions of bacteria… tiny microorganisms that swarm over every surface in our mouth. If you’ve been a little sloppy about brushing your teeth recently, you may very well have more bacteria in your mouth than there are people living on this planet! Scientists have identified over 700 different kinds of these tiny microbes that thrive in the warm and moist environment found inside our mouths. Now, that should make you feel like brushing your teeth! Let’s take a closer look at oral bacteria and some of the myths and facts pertaining to these microbes.

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The Five Second Rule

Ever heard of the five-second rule? It goes something like this: If you drop food on the ground and pick it up within five seconds, it shouldn’t have picked up any bacteria. Well, that’s not necessarily true, say dentists in Colorado Springs. Sure, the longer food remains on the floor, the more covered in bacteria it will become, but food or any object really picks up microbes the nanosecond it hits the floor! This is especially true if that food is moist. So, depending on the state of the floor you dropped it on, you might want to reassess that “rule” and butter yourself another piece of toast!

Is Gum Disease Contagious?

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You wouldn’t want to kiss someone with gum disease: one of the symptoms is bad breath. But the good news is that if you did happen to pucker up for someone with less than desirable oral hygiene, you wouldn’t catch gum disease from him or her. This ailment isn’t contagious in the way that viral infections are. Rather, it develops over the course of many years as a result of consistently poor oral hygiene and bad lifestyle habits such as smoking and heavy drinking. Gum disease even shares a relationship with certain systemic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

While the bacteria that cause gum disease can be exchanged through saliva, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy just by brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your Colorado Springs dentist and oral hygienist twice a year. Preventing gum disease is a lifelong commitment. So is “catching” gum disease.

Hey, Can I Borrow Your Toothbrush?

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Did you forget your toothbrush at home? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it might not be a good idea to borrow your friend’s. Toothbrushes house nasty little microbes and if your immune system hasn’t wizened up to them, it could make you sick. Your own toothbrush is rarely a threat because those pathogens came from your own mouth. Chances are your immune system has become acquainted with them. But by sharing toothbrushes with someone else, you are exposing yourself to the host of germs they have in their bodies, rendering you more vulnerable to infection. This is especially true if your friend has recently suffered from a cold, flu or any other kind of viral infection.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

Stay tuned for the second installment of this three-part article series in which experts in issues on dental in Colorado Springs provide us with a closer and more personal look at the oral bacteria populating our mouths.