For purposes of oral health there are three main types of bacteria in the mouth you need to know about:
- Aerobic bacteria live along the gum line and produce the white sticky stuff called plaque by your dentist. It is the stuff that causes gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums around your teeth. Signs of gingivitis are red bleeding gums when you brush and floss. The only way to remove plaque is to brush and floss it off.
- Anaerobic bacteria live under the gum line in the space between your teeth and gums which is called the ‘pocket’ by your dentist. These bacteria live best where it is dark and warm and don’t need oxygen to survive. They are usually more aggressive forms of bacteria and they can colonize, which can lead to more advanced stages of gum disease.
- Sulfur producing bacteria that can coat your mucosal surfaces and tongue and can sometimes lead to bad breath.
The main way to deal with bacteria in the mouth is through thorough daily homecare like brushing and flossing. Another technique that is not talked about very much is brushing your tongue after brushing your teeth.
Technique is very important when taking care of you teeth. You can do too little or too much, so be sure to see your dentist to get individual instruction and coaching about how best to clean your teeth and any individual needs you may have. Every mouth is different so there is not one way of cleaning your teeth that will work with everyone.
The reason why it is important to brush daily or twice daily is that bacteria will start to colonize and produce plaque on your gums in about 6-8 hours. Another way to create a better environment in your mouth and in your body as a whole is to take probiotics for healthy colonies of bacteria and a balanced PH.
Carey O’Rielly DDS has been a practicing dentist for 35 years. He went to USC Dental School and Duke University for his undergraduate degree. He grew up in Laguna Beach and now lives in La Costa with his wife Victoria, who runs his office.
He began his career by owning and operating a network of six offices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Presently he owns a private holistic practice in North County San Diego’s Encinitas.
Dr. O started looking for solutions to his health challenges that resulted from the stress and environmental toxicity that built up over a ten year period running his dental network. He has dedicated himself to learning about oral systemic problems and how dentistry can affect your health. He has applied what he has learned over the last twenty years to ensure he, his staff and his patients are protected from the chemicals and toxic materials found in most dental offices. He has produced an environmentally friendly office that is also peaceful and calm.
He is an expert on dental materials having looked at hundreds of biocompatibility lab tests over the years. He has identified the most bio-friendly materials to use in his practice and which dental materials can be used to replace metal fillings and crowns, including BPA free and fluoride free ‘white’ fillings. He also uses metal-free Zirconia or ceramic implants and PRF (platelet-rich fibrin) grafting materials which come from the patient’s own blood.
Dr. O’Rielly teaches C.E. courses on the systemic effects of gum disease. He is an expert in using phase contrast microscopy for analyzing dental infections, where he shows patients what kind of microbes, i.e. bacteria, amoeba, and yeasts like candida are populating the mouth and affecting the body as a whole.
He has an educational blog and is writing a book on dental health called ‘Hidden Dental Infections: Healing Root Canals and Infected Teeth with the Erbium Laser’ where he discusses dental nutrition, toxic dental materials and the effects of old root canals on inflammation and overall health.