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What Are Mouth Germs?

If you haven't brushed your teeth lately, do you know what could be happening inside your mouth? Germs are growing and covering your teeth, feeding off the food particles left over from your lunch. Sounds awful, doesn't it? There's no need to panic, though. It's normal to have bacteria inside your mouth. But it's also important that you understand how to clean your mouth effectively so the germs don't get out of control.

Mouth Germs: What Are They?

You've heard of plaque, right? Mouth bacteria are simply the germs that form a thin, sticky layer of plaque on your teeth. When you have a feeling that something fuzzy or sticky is covering your teeth, that's plaque. Plaque builds up when sugary food particles aren't cleaned away by properly brushing after you eat. Mouth germs like to hide in little crevices between teeth, which is why flossing is important too. The plaque continues to feed off sugary foods or carbohydrates, which creates acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth. This results in tooth decay.

But even though plaque can create dental problems, having some germs in your mouth is normal. According to RDH Magazine, the professional magazine for registered dental hygienists, there could be as many as 500 to 650 different mouth germs living on your tongue and your teeth at any time. These germs multiply at a rapid pace to form "biofilms." In addition to covering your teeth and tongue, the biofilm also covers the inside of your cheeks and other tissues in your mouth.

How Do I Get Rid of Germs in My Mouth?

The best way to get rid of mouth bacteria is to brush and floss at least twice each day. Proper brushing techniques can effectively clear away food particles and the germy film that eventually turns to plaque or tartar if left on teeth.

In addition, you can use an antibacterial or antimicrobial mouth rinse to help clean your mouth. But be careful, not all mouth rinses will work. Some "breath freshening" rinses only contain colors and fragrances that mask bad breath. Look on the label for the words "anti-plaque," "anti-gingivitis," "antibacterial" and "antimicrobial" to be sure you get an effective product.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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