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There Are a Lot of Bacteria in Your Mouth but Only a Few Mean You Harm

ThereAreaLotofBacteriainYourMouthbutOnlyaFewMeanYouHarm

Say “bacteria,” especially in the same sentence with “disease” or “infection,” and you may trigger an immediate stampede for the hand sanitizer. The last thing most people want is to come in contact with these “menacing” microorganisms.

If that describes you, however, you’re too late. If you’re of adult age, there are already 100 trillion of these single-celled organisms in and on your body, outnumbering your own cells 10 to 1. But don’t panic: Of these 10,000-plus species only a handful can cause you harm—most are either harmless or beneficial, including in your mouth.

Thanks to recent research, we know quite a bit about the different kinds of bacteria in the mouth and what they’re doing. We’ve also learned that the mouth’s microbiome (the interactive environment of microscopic organisms in a particular location) develops over time, especially during our formative years. New mothers, for example, pass on hundreds of beneficial species of bacteria to their babies via their breast milk.

As our exposure to different bacteria grows, our immune system is also developing—not only fighting bacteria that pose a threat, but also learning to recognize benevolent species. All these factors over time result in a sophisticated, interrelated bacterial environment unique to every individual.

Of course, it isn’t all sweetness and light in this microscopic world. The few harmful oral bacteria, especially those that trigger tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, can cause enormous, irreparable damage to the teeth and gums. It’s our goal as dentists to treat these diseases and, when necessary, fight against harmful microorganisms with antibacterial agents and antibiotics.

But our growing knowledge of this “secret world” of bacteria is now influencing how we approach dental treatment. A generalized application of antibiotics, for example, could harm beneficial bacteria as well as harmful ones. In trying to do good we may run the risk of disrupting the mouth’s microbiome balance—with adverse results on a patient’s long-term oral health.

The treatment strategies of the future will take this into account. While stopping dental disease will remain the top priority, the treatments of the future will seek to do it without harming the delicate balance of the mouth’s microbiome.

If you would like more information on the role of bacteria in oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “New Research Show Bacteria Essential to Health.”

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Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "Hands down the best dentist I’ve ever been to. Dr Damelio is a master of his trade and the dental hygienists were the nicest and most professional I’ve ever dealt with. I would recommend this place to anyone!"
    Alex O.
  • "I had a great experience at my first appointment with Dr. Damelio and my hygienist Cally. The office is clean, staff is friendly and you can tell they really care about their patients!"
    Kyle C.
  • "Dr. Damelio has been exceeding my expectations ever since we first met them. Everyone is wonderful to work with and have great communication."
    Mel P.
  • "Dr. Damelio has an awesome team working with him. They all work very well together to make your visit efficient and productive. They are great at making the experience painless and I have nothing but compliments for the entire practice."
    Matt A.
  • "My children and I are always treated very well at Dr. Damelio's. The care is excellent. The staff is the best. We all enjoy going there very much."
    Carla P.
  • "Dr Damelio is competent, courteous, friendly and he has trained his staff in that mode. Everybody know your name and greets you upon coming. They out of their way to schedule to meet your convenience. Everyone knows their role and they do it well. It is a pleasure, an an honor, to have Dr. Damelio as my dentist."
    Jerry M.
  • "I have always had a tremendous phobia of the dentist growing up but things changed after I went to Dr. Steve. I had a few bad experiences in the past but after going to Dr. Steven Damelio they have completely gone away. I have never had a minute of pain and the staff are really great they are the best."
    Jim S.
  • "I love the friendly staff at Steven G. Damelio, DMD. I always leave this dentist office with my teeth looking great."
    Jamiee L.
  • "I always have an excellent experience at Dr. Damelio's office. Everyone is so nice and they have a great staff, keep up the good work."
    Brett M.
  • "I recently had a dental issue that needed quick attention. Dr. Damelio's staff was excellent. They worked with me and got me right in to the office for an appointment. Dr. Damelio gave me his full time and attention and was able to take care of the problem quickly and painlessly. I think this is a great dental practice and recommend Dr. Damelio to all of my friends."
    Megan M.
  • "Everyone at Dr. Damelio's office always so professional and friendly. Dr. Damelio always takes the time to explain everything and puts me at ease. I know I'm receiving the best care at each of my visits."
    Bonnie T.
  • "My family has been patients of Steven Damelio for a few years. My children and I are always treated very well. The care is excellent and the staff is top-notch. We all enjoy going to see Dr. Damelio."
    Lana B.
  • "I love coming to see Dr. Damelio. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly, it totally eliminates the fear of of being at teh dentist. Dr Damelio also performs his work so well that I never feel pain and I am rarely in any discomfort. I highly recommend them for sure."
    Coleen M.