Regular maintenance on your mind, body, and valuable items is an important part of keeping healthy and clean. Maintenance performed on your teeth is no exception; in fact it may prove to be one of the most important areas of continued attention. Your teeth are obviously important for chewing food and presenting yourself with a bright clean smile, but did you know that clean teeth help to prevent diseases? While it may not seem like it at first, your mouth is actually a perfect spot for harmful bacteria and germs to grow and reproduce. Bacteria basically need four ideal conditions to thrive, and your mouth provides a great source for all four of them.
The first basic condition for bacterial growth is warm temperatures, especially temperatures close to average human body temperatures, and your mouth is almost always right at your normal core body temperature. This is why doctors have traditionally used an oral thermometer to check your body temperature for a fever when you are sick. The second condition moisture, and unless you’re stranded in the middle of a desert, you probably have very moist conditions inside of your mouth. Third is oxygen, and while there are many bacteria which do not require oxygen to survive, there are many more kinds of bacteria that do. This is why food and groceries are often vacuum sealed before being sold to the public, in order to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Your mouth (or your nose) is the first internal body part to be exposed to oxygen when you breathe in, so oxygen levels in your mouth are ideal for the growth of bacteria. Lastly, bacteria like to grow in environments that have a low PH level, or in other words are highly acidic. Now the human mouth is generally more neutral in PH level, but foods that are high in sugar are extremely acidic. Combine all these conditions and your mouth is primed for a bacterial party like you couldn’t imagine! For this reason, your mouth is highly susceptible to real diseases like gingivitis, halitosis, and even forms of oral cancer.
So how is a person supposed to protect themselves from these harmful bacteria? First, daily hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing in the morning and at night help to keep bacteria from growing in the crevices between and on your teeth. In addition, regular visits to your favorite dental hygienist here at Steven R. Irwin, D.D.S. to get a deep cleaning are highly recommended. So don’t delay, schedule your next dentist appointment today!