Where oral bacteria come from

Discussion in 'Dental' started by Fakesmile, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Fakesmile

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    Teeth decay is caused by acids excreted by certain types of bacteria that live in our mouth.
    Brushing your teeth using toothpaste kills them and stops buildup of acids, thus preventing teeth decay.
    But then, bacteria are living organisms and living organisms don't arise spontaneously.
    How do they keep occurring in our mouth even after getting rid of them all by brushing your teeth?
    One way I can imagine is through transferring of those bacteria through kissing. It's also possible that some of those bacteria were in the food, or some bacteria survived from your tooth brushing.
    I tried googling it, but I couldn't find the answer.
    But what are other possibilities?
    If we could somehow prevent continuous occurence of these kinds of bacteria in our mouth, wouldn't it be possible to prevent teeth decay without brushing your teeth?
     
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    #1 Fakesmile, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  2. alphaDDS

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    Hate to break it to you cause you seem so enthusiastically curious, but your logic isn't completely sound. For one, toothpaste doesn't kill bact directly (for the most part) it just breaks up the plaque so your saliva can do the job, or so that you can swallow the bact and then your stomach does the job. At best it has a minor antimicrobial component. Second, you can't really remove ALL bacteria from your mouth, and neither is that the goal, since normal flora is your first line of defense. The idea is to bring the level of bacteria in your mouth under control, so that (in the case of caries) too much acid isn't produced.

    So... once you have a certain type of bact in your mouth, and it establishes itself among the resident flora- that is, it is liked by and likes the flora that already exists in your mouth- you'll have it for the rest of your life.

    THis is a quick answer, you should ask your oral path professor or micro professor for a better answer.
     
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  3. aphistis

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    The mouth is a warm, moist environment that constantly has nonsterile organic matter stuffed into it. It's a bacterial paradise.
     
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  4. Streetwolf

    Streetwolf Ultra Senior Member
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    You acquire pioneer species as an infant most often from your mother. Go blame her. The bacteria attach to your epithelial cells of your soft tissues. Other species attach to them. Etc etc.

    When your teeth erupt a pellicle forms on them which bacteria will adhere to. When lots of bacteria adhere to each other it's called a biofilm. When it really builds up you would notice plaque. Brushing your teeth gets rid of plaque mainly through the mechanical action and not with the toothpaste itself (though the fluoride in toothpaste is a very good thing to have). It will come back shortly, and you don't lose all the bacteria in your mouth when you brush. So you brush your teeth again at night.

    When your teeth come in you get all those nice spaces between the teeth and your gums, between two teeth, and so on. Bacteria love those spaces. That's where they will accumulate and that's where you're more likely to get cavities.

    The bacteria in your "healthy mouth" is called the normal flora. These bacteria are GOOD. They are not harmful unless you become immunosuppressed (such as with AIDS, diabetes, etc). They are kept under control by your immune system. The great thing about these bacteria is that they prevent harmful ones from doing anything. If you got rid of them (heavy antibiotics, immunosuppression, etc) then you'd see the opportunistic pathogens break through and start making trouble. Candida, for example.

    There are certain bacterial species that are associated with cavities (strep mutans) and periodontal problems (the red complex) but there is no definitive causation (ie. this strain is always there during cavities and never there without cavities). If researchers were able to pinpoint certain species that cause dental problems, it would be a lot easier to prevent these problems.

    Until then, keep brushing your teeth and keeping sugary foods to a minimum. :)
     
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  5. Mackchops

    Mackchops Toothy grin
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    Keep asking. Curiosity is awesome.

    There's an undercurrent in dental research for a "caries vaccine" -- some people believe that what you suggest is possible. If we can remove the virulent specie(s) from the oral cavity then perhaps we can "immunize" people from caries...

    Unfortunately, there is a larger group of people who don't feel this is possible. Cariogenic bacteria are diverse and many. A single vaccine is more than likely a pipe dream.

    At this point, the best therapeutic advice is to limit fermentable carbohydrate intake FREQUENCY (do a search for the Stephan Curve to see why drinking a cup of coffee with 2 sugars over an hour is potentially more harmful than gorging yourself on a single piece of cake). Also, consider learning more about fluoride -- both for its hydroxyapetite => fluoroapetite transformation of enamel (fluoroapetite is less acid soluble than hydroxyapetite) and for its antimicrobial capabilities.

    Awesome question!
     
  6. AggieDDS

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    God, if you replace those two words with different words you get something else that is also true. :love:
     
  7. cool freak

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    [quote=
    Hi...great job explaining this..do you have any idea..as to when does the oral frora changes..at eruption of primary teeth..sec. teeth or introduction of food?? and when does the infant gets its microflora?? is it since birth???
     
  8. Streetwolf

    Streetwolf Ultra Senior Member
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    Not immediately at birth. Though at birth is the last time there should be no bacterial species in the oral cavity, it's not like they are swarming in ASAP. Like I said earlier, the big culprit is the caregiver (often mom).

    The flora will shift a bit at eruption because teeth = spaces. You get spaces in the gums and in the grooves of the teeth. Also between teeth. Instead of a mouth full of aerobic species, you get anaerobes that move in to these tight spaces.
     
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  9. aphistis

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    Yes, immediately at birth. Unless the baby keeps its mouth perfectly shut during the trip through the birth canal, that is. L. acidophilus, anyone?
     
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  10. alphaDDS

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    Caesarian sections don't take that trip. And I think it's 18 months before the "critical period" or whatever it's called ends.
     
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  11. Streetwolf

    Streetwolf Ultra Senior Member
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    What I meant was the normal flora isn't just fully there at birth. But at birth itself is when bacterial species will first enter the mouth.
     
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