The moment you came out of your mother’s womb, bacteria and other microbes are already present in your body. No one escapes from them. They are practically everywhere: in the air, on doctors’ hands, and in your mother’s milk. But more significant to know is that most of them enter the body through the mouth and from there, some go to the other parts of the body. However, many microbes stay in the mouth for good. They love it there. Being warm and moist, the mouth serves as an excellent breeding place for many of them.
Bacteria and other microbes cancause diseases in the mouth, lips, teeth, and gums. Most of these are easily acquired especially when proper dental hygiene is neglected. One of the most common, gingivitis, is a disease of the gums as they accumulate they slowly erode and destroy the gums, resulting in the disease. In response to gingivitis, the body produces certain substances called cytokines, which help to fight infection.
Mumps is another common mouth disease. It affects the salivary glands especially the parotid. Virus causes it. Mumps is most common among children, although adults can also get infected.
Another disease is canker sore, which is a break in the lining of the mouth that uncovers the sensitive tissue beneath. Some canker sores are caused by viral infection.
Oral thrush is a disease caused by an outbreak of the fungus Candida albicans, one of the many microbes that are usually present in small numbers in the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth usually prevent growth of this fungus. However, if your natural resistance to infection is low because ofillness, or if antibodies have upset the natural balance among the microbes in your mouth, this fungus may multiply out of control. This leads to the disease, which is manifested by sore patches in the mouth.
You suffer when your tooth aches. Blame that on the bacteria in your mouth. The chief enemy of teeth is decay, or dental caries, believed to be due to a certain bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria ferment sugars and starches and in doing so produce acid. The more sugar and starch we eat, the more numerous the bacteria become and the more acid they produce. This acid may eat through the enamel of a tooth. Acid and bacteria then attack the ivory-like dentine, which forms the body of the tooth. If decay works through the dentine, it reaches the pulp. This is soft tissue at the center of the tooth that contains blood and lymph vessels and nerves. If bacteria enter the pulp, infection may result and cause toothache. Then you will have to go to the dentist and have the tooth removed.
Another common problem which often comes from the activity of the bacteria in the mouth is halitosis, or what is commonly known as “bad breath.” Once considered to be an incurable affliction, bad breath can now be treated after proper diagnosis. Poor oral hygiene, gum disease, and excessive bacterial activity in the mouth are just some of the possible causes or sources of bad breath.