Charlotte dentist, Dr. James Wells, will says all human mouths contain bacteria. It is normal and even essential to health that bacteria live in the mouth. Bacteria help break down food when it is chewed, but bacteria can also be damaging. Bacteria feed on the sugars of food and convert those sugars to plaque. The plaque then sticks to teeth and wears down enamel, causing decay.
Based on evidence from human predecessors, past researchers concluded that the presence of bacteria was a result of genetics. But new evidence suggests that environment may have more to do with the bacteria that live in our mouths.
A new study conducted on identical twins showed the impact of environmental factors on the oral bacterial makeup of the twins. Because of their identical genetic makeup, identical twins provided researchers with two subjects who were affected the same way by their environment. The twins’ bacterial communities inside their mouths did not vary significantly from the mouths of fraternal twins. The researchers therefore concluded that genetics must not play the significant role previously believed.
“We were also intrigued to see that the micro biota of twin pairs becomes less similar once they moved apart from each other,” added Simone Stahringer, first author of the study. When separated the twins were subjected to less similar environments ant their oral bacteria showed higher variation levels, suggesting that environment is a key to understanding bacteria present in the mouth.
Two other significant discoveries resulted from the study. The first is that the oral bacteria in our mouths tend to change the most during adolescence. Researchers believe this may mean that puberty could significantly affect the bacteria that inhabit our mouths. Secondly, the researchers discovered there may be a particular fundamental group of bacteria that can be found in nearly all human mouths.
“Though there are definitely differences among different people, there is a relatively high degree of sharing similar microbial species in all human mouths,” said Ken Krauter, senior author on the study.
Understanding these bacteria may be important for overall health. Bacteria may spread through the mouth and may cause disease and illness in other parts of the body. Bacteria may also complicate medical conditions and cause conditions to worsen. Further research into this area is essential if we are to increase our ability to fight off bacteria and disease.
If you are concerned about the damaging effects that oral bacteria may have on your teeth or health, please don’t hesitate to call or stop by South Charlotte Dentistry for your next appointment with Dr. James A. Wells and staff. Call South Charlotte Dentistry at 704-759-0809 or visit the website at www.southcharlottedentistry.com.