There’s a Forest of Bacteria Living on Your Teeth

In a recently published study, researchers from the Forsyth Institute and the Marine Biological Laboratory collected dental plaque scrapings of healthy volunteers who didn’t brush their teeth for 12-48 hours in order to study the behavior and movement of oral bacteria. The results showed that each type of bacteria was structured and organized in different areas; much in the same way trees are arranged in a forest. Researchers were able to cover an incredible 96% of all microbes present in human plaque.

The presence of oral bacteria isn’t unusual; in fact, researchers have estimated anywhere from 500-700 different species of bacteria present in the mouth at any given moment. In total, there are about 20 billion bacteria, which reproduce every 5 hours. That’s why regular brushing and flossing are important: we need to maintain the right balance of oral microbes in order to keep our mouths healthy.

When we neglect preventative oral healthcare, our ‘oral ecology’ becomes imbalanced. When certain types of bacteria start to accumulate in the mouth, it can cause a number of problems ranging from mildly annoying bad breath to more serious periodontal disease.

Although it’s tempting to forego your toothbrush in favor of a quick swish-and-spit of wintergreen mouthwash, the easy way isn’t always the best way. Alcohol-based mouthwash may temporarily reduce bad breath, but it also ends up drying out the mouth, which may actually cause worse bad breath.

Take charge of your own oral health by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and especially after you eat. Daily flossing and a healthy diet are also factors that play a huge part in maintaining a balanced oral ecology. Dentists recommend scheduling a routine teeth cleaning at least twice a year, and ZendyHealth could help you save 20-90% on teeth cleaning or another dental procedure.

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