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10 interesting facts about the microbes in your mouth

Did you know that not all bacteria is bad? Here are some facts you might not have known about the bacteria living in your mouth.

Written by Agencies |Updated : June 4, 2014 3:01 PM IST

microbesinteethJust as humans inhabit the Earth; our mouth is also home to millions of tiny little organisms. Friends or foes we'll delve into that a little later, but these microorganisms teeming in our oral cavities constitute the oral micro flora as they are collectively called. Now, here are 10 interesting facts you didn't know about them.

  1. Our mouth is inhabited by 500 to 1000 different types of bacteria, 70 to 80 different types of fungi and a few viruses and parasites. Could you have imagined that?
  2. At any point in time an individual mouth may be harbouring anywhere between 10 to 50 billion bacteria. Now that`s a stellar number!
  3. As a child is born, his/her mouth is sterile, i.e. germ free, but within a few hours of birth the first microorganisms start to appear, the mother being the source.
  4. The microorganisms that cause cavities in our teeth start appearing first just when the teeth start emerging out of the gums and they stay in our mouth as long as we don`t lose all our teeth.
  5. You definitely couldn't have known that different types of bacteria could be responsible for causing cavities in different parts of a tooth. And that there are altogether different groups of bacteria that cause gum problems. (Read: Understanding how decay destroys your teeth)
  6. Not all bacteria are harmful. Some of the early microorganisms that colonize the mouth are beneficial and act by competitively inhibiting the number of harmful bacteria and also by reducing bad odour in our mouth. So it is not necessary to keep our mouth sterile. It`s just that we need to keep the unhealthy bacteria at bay with proper oral hygiene maintenance.
  7. Microorganisms reside not only on our teeth but also on our gums, the tongue and the mucosa of the cheeks and lips. So it is also important to keep these clean. (Read: Top Oral Hygiene Mistakes)
  8. There are certain organisms like the fungus Candida sp., which are present in our mouth normally but cause disease only when the immunity is compromised such as in the case of people who suffer from diabetes or AIDS or in the case of long term steroid therapy. (Read: How diabetes affects your teeth and oral health)
  9. Oral microbes are fast and furious. It takes only around 4 to 5 hours for the bacteria in our mouth to double in number. So, can you calculate the number of times we need to brush if we need to keep their numbers in check?
  10. And finally, did you know that when two people kiss, there occurs an exchange of millions of bacteria between their oral cavities? Your partner could transfer organisms which cause dental decay, gum disease, common cold, herpes and even hepatitis!

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of genital herpes.

The post 10 Interesting Facts About the Microbes in Your Mouth appeared first on Colgate Total Blog.

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