Our mouths are amazing habitats. Inside, there are a number of different elements all trying to grow, thrive, and make a home for themselves. Unfortunately, they don’t always get along. Let’s take a look inside our mouths to find out which elements are fighting for us, and which are fighting against us!
The Bad Guys
So far, scientists have confirmed over 700 species of bacteria that grow inside the human mouth. These bacteria are all competing for food and territory. If proper dental hygiene is not performed, these bad guys will gain control and wreak havoc on your mouth. Who are they? Let’s meet a few now.
Streptococcus mutans – This bad guy is an anaerobic bacterium that multiplies quickly to colonize and cause the formation of plaque on our teeth. Once plaque is formed, Streptococcus mutans continue to evolve, and in doing so, they create an uneven amount of lactic acid inside the mouth. Together, plaque and acid are the number one cause of cavities.
Tannerella Forsythia and Porphyromonas Gingivalis – These bad guys are anaerobic bacteria that are found naturally inside of our mouths; however, if left unchallenged, they can be quite destructive. In fact, if given the opportunity to overpopulate your mouth, they can greatly increase the likelihood of developing periodontitis — a serious gum infection that destroys the bones supporting your teeth.
The Good Guys
Saliva – While saliva is made up of mostly water, it does contain phosphate and calcium ions that help rebuild really small holes in the teeth that were made by those evil bad guys. Additionally, saliva acts as a peacekeeper inside our mouths by neutralizing the acid formed by the bad bacteria and washing out debris. When our mouths fail to produce the proper amount of saliva, they become the perfect breeding ground for germs to grow.
Enamel – When we look at our teeth, enamel is what we are looking at. It is the hard outer shell of a tooth — in fact, it’s the hardest substance in our bodies! It is there to protect our teeth from harm. Every single day we expose our teeth to danger, from grinding to biting down on hard foods. Though enamel is hard, it is still very prone to decay due to the types of foods we choose to eat. Without enamel, our teeth are at great risk for a number of dental health problems.
Go to Your Dentist in Birmingham!
As you can see, maintaining a safe environment inside our mouths isn’t always easy. Saliva can stop producing due to medicine, stress, or just dehydration. Enamel breaks down easily if we are eating the wrong foods. The best way to protect our mouths against bad guys is to actively help the good ones. Keep a proper brushing schedule, remember to floss, and most importantly, remember to go to your appointment with your dentist in Birmingham!