Your mouth: home to a populace of about 20 billion

If you thought that your mouth just had teeth, gums, tongue and tonsils in it, then think again. Swimming around in your saliva, hanging out on your tongue and gums are also about 6 billion bacteria.


Yes, your mouth is an ecosystem and in science, it even has a name. The people with the microscopes call it the human oral microbiome. Here at PS Dental Care, your dentist in Soho, we just call it a mouth, but we are totally fascinated by it nonetheless. We love to read about the work of Dr Walter Loesche from the University of Michigan, who wrote all about mouth bacteria in his book Caries: A treatable infection.


Staring into mouths and petri dishes, over the years, he became well acquainted with some of the several hundred strains of bacteria that make their home among your dentition. He once removed all the film of bacteria from a set of teeth and weighed it. It tipped the scales at about 10mg, but that’s only about 5% of all the bacteria in your mouth. All that life going on in such a tiny scraping of white stuff. But don’t forget, there is similar life all over your tongue, your gums and that film inside your cheeks.


It doesn’t sound like much, but Dr Loesche estimate that each milligram contains about 100 million microbes. And you thought you were alone in there. Nope. There are about 20 billion oral microbes keeping you company. A comforting thought when you feel lonely.


It also sounds like it could get a bit crowded, but never fear. Swallowing helps. You swallow about a litre of saliva every 24 hours, and along with it, you remove about 100 billion microbes. That’s why they have to keep reproducing, and also why some of them cling onto our teeth and gums and cheeks.


They are the ones that cause damage though, so you need to make sure to come to the dentist in Soho for regular check-ups. The dentist in Soho can detect the early signs of decay and gum disease and treat them before they develop into something more serious. Book a check-up today.

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