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How many germs are really living on your teeth and braces?

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We clean our teeth morning and night, and floss when we can be bothered.

But with all the eating, drinking – and maybe even some snogging – thrown in, it’s not surprise that your teeth might be a bit of a breeding ground for germs.

And, when you add in braces, you’ve got to be even more careful about oral hygiene and care.

Vice president of the British Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr Sam Jethwa tells Metro.co.uk that there’s our mouths and teeth are home to lots of bacteria.

He said: ‘You of course can’t see them, but your mouth and your teeth are home to thousands of microbes including fungus and bacteria in what is known as the oral microbiome.

‘While most of these tiny oral bacteria are actually helpful for our oral health, others can unfortunately lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

‘With good oral care practices and a healthy diet, we can of course manage the levels of bacteria in your mouth to ensure a healthy smile.’

Dr Jethwa says that tooth-straightening treatment in adults, including braces, have been on the rise in recent years, and this can also mean introducing more bacteria into your mouth.

‘While braces can help teeth to be easier to keep clean in the long term, their structure does make it possible for harmful bacteria to thrive in hard-to-reach areas. 

‘It’s therefore vital that patients pay good attention to their teeth with the appropriate dental care whilst wearing braces.’

And, the when we kiss someone we introduce different bacteria into the our mouths – although this is less likely to have an impact on your teeth.

Dr Jethwa says: ‘With kissing we’re transferring saliva which can of course carry various bacteria. Rather than direct dental issues, you are more likely to catch a virus from this contact. 

So what’s best oral hygiene practice? Dr Jethwa adds: ‘Brushing your teeth twice a day removes plaque and debris that can linger in the mouth, causing tooth decay which also creates bad odours. 

‘Electric toothbrushes are clinically proven to remove more bacteria but it’s advisable to change the head of your toothbrush every three or four months – or once the bristles become splayed.’

And, just as your dentist tells you every time you pay a visit, you need to floss.

‘Flossing is another aspect of dental hygiene everyone knows they should do, but many forget or believe they don’t have the time. 

‘Flossing is very important as it removes plaque and debris that can linger in the mouth and cause tooth decay and develop bacteria. Tongue scraping too is an important part of oral care; tongue scrapers are specifically designed to remove bacteria from the tongue.’

Dr Jethwa also recommends seeing your dentist twice a year. 

Source: Metro

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