Q:

How do microorganisms get into your mouth?

A:

Quick Answer

There are 20 billion microbes in the average human mouth at any time from natural microbial reproduction in the mouth, according to The Dentistry iQ Network. These bacteria double in number every five hours. The average human swallows 100 billion bacteria, produced in his own mouth, daily.

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How do microorganisms get into your mouth?
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Full Answer

Most of these bacteria are not harmful and some are helpful. Although scientists have identified over 700 species of oral bacteria, most people are hosts to 34 to 72 different varieties, according to Colgate. Probiotics aid in digestion. Other strains of bacteria in the mouth help to protect the teeth and gums. Scientific American says promoting the health of certain helpful bacteria in the mouth is an effective way to prevent bad breath.

Some of the bacteria growing in the mouth are not helpful, however. Colgate also indicates there are organisms responsible for tooth decay and bad breath growing in the mouth. Streptococcus mutans is a form of bacteria that eats sugar. It also attacks the enamel on the teeth, causing decay.

Bacteria also enter the mouth through food, water and air. According to WebMD a person's toothbrush often provides the warm, moist environment to encourage bacterial growth. Rinsing the toothbrush and allowing it to air dry away from the toilet helps to reduce the number of bacteria introduced to the mouth.

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