Bad oral bacteria are the cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Both of these conditions can destroy your teeth and your gums. Worse, gum disease can also destroy the bone that supports your teeth. That's why you need to do all you can to prevent bad strains of oral bacteria, like streptococcus mutans, from thriving in your mouth.
The following bad habits can cause bad oral bacteria to thrive and multiply in your oral cavity.
1. Not Flossing Between Your Teeth
Food often lodges between teeth, especially the teeth at the back of the mouth. As such, if you don't floss, this food may then remain lodged between your teeth for hours or even much longer. During that time, the oral bacteria in your mouth can safely feed on that trapped food. This can lead to tooth cavities because oral bacteria secrete an acidic substance that erodes your tooth enamel.
2. Not Drinking Enough Water
Your saliva may be sticky and unpleasant, but it is one of your prime defenses against bad oral bacteria. But without a steady supply of water, your salivary production will be insufficient to keep bad oral bacteria at bay. Bad strains of oral bacteria thrive in dry mouths.
3. Eating a Diet Rich in Processed Foods
The sugars in processed foods are simple and thus very easy for bad oral bacteria to break down into digestible chunks. This accelerates the speed at which bad oral bacteria breed and thrive because they have access to a simple food source. This increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
4. Snacking Before Going to Bed
Overnight, while you sleep, bad oral bacteria can make a comeback in your mouth. This is because your salivary flow is limited and bad oral bacteria are free to do as they please. Brushing your teeth before bed deprives oral bacteria of a food source. This prevents them from damaging your teeth. However, if you snack before bed and don't brush your teeth, they will suffer overnight.
5. Smoking Regularly
Along with your saliva, your immune system helps to keep bad oral bacteria at bay. Unfortunately, smoking weakens your immune system. This means that if bad oral bacteria attack your teeth and gums, your body's ability to fight them off will be compromised if you smoke regularly. Smoking also reduces your body's ability to heal itself after the damage has occurred.
If your dental health has been suffering recently, then you might have one or more of the aforementioned bad habits. Your dentist can fix your teeth and gums, but they can also advise you on how best to take care of your oral health, by recommending appropriate foods, oral hygiene techniques, and healthy habits. Contact a dentist for more dental care information.