Dentist warns about 1 habit that leaves ‘the worst, strongest’ germs in your mouth

By | March 20, 2024

It’s a familiar morning routine for many of us: make sure to clean your mouth immediately after breakfast by using a harsh toothpaste applied with an abrasive toothbrush, followed by a rinse with a mouthwash so strong it makes you shudder. .

Dr. Kami Hoss also shudders when he hears patients describe these habits.

These are some of the reasons why so many people have poor oral health, which in turn affects all other aspects of their health, from physical to mental, the dentist writes in his book, “If Your Mouth Could Talk: An In-depth Guide to oral health and its impact on your entire life.”

“Statistically, our mouths as a society are incredibly unhealthy right now. With all these advances in science, technology and medicine, you would think dentists would have nothing left to do at this point,” Hoss, co-founder of The Super Dentists in San Diego, California, tells TODAY.com.

“But oral health has not improved in the last 30 years… the majority of our population has oral disease, so that means what we are currently doing is not working.”

Caries, also known as tooth decay, is the most common non-communicable disease in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

In the U.S., about half of adults have some form of gum disease, with that number rising to 70% for Americans over age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Poor oral health, suboptimal dental visits or infrequent flossing were associated with increased all-cause mortality, according to a 2024 study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The biggest problem is that people neglect their mouths or go to the other extreme of disinfecting and sterilizing them in ways that disrupt the balance of the oral microbiome, Hoss says.

Just like our intestines, the mouth contains good and bad bacteria – billions of microbes in total. If you disrupt this delicate balance — for example, by using a product that kills all the bacteria in your mouth — problems can arise, he notes.

What is good oral health?

Hoss defines it as having a balanced oral microbiome and proper growth and development of the mouth, leading to correct airways, a correct bite and a balanced-looking face. A healthy mouth can extend life expectancy by up to ten years, he notes in his book.

But when something goes wrong, resulting in an unhealthy mouth, it can impact everything related to a person’s well-being, including mental health. It’s “mind-boggling” how many diseases are linked to periodontal disease, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease, Hoss writes.

Oral health is related to the overall health of the body, but dentists are still usually trained to only fill cavities or straighten teeth, rather than preventing bigger problems, he notes.

What are the biggest oral health mistakes people make?

They include using harsh oral care products that contain alcohol and other ingredients that can alter the oral microbiome, which has taken millions of years to evolve, Hoss says.

He is particularly shocked by the antiseptic mouthwash, which kills 99% of everything as advertised, leaving behind “the nastiest, toughest, roughest little microbes out there – ready to recolonize that whole mouth, completely unchecked by the organisms that feed them.” previously held back.” bay,” he writes in his book.

Hoss urges consumers to think of the mouth as a garden, containing the mouth’s many beneficial microbes as flowers and plants, and the bad bugs as weeds.

“If there were weeds growing in your garden, you wouldn’t just throw acid and weedkiller everywhere and kill everything, like we do in our mouths. (But) we use antiseptic mouthwash that kills everything,” he says. “What we put in the mouth is a disaster at the moment.”

Some of the beneficial microbes lost after heavy mouthwash use are designed to help the body produce nitric oxide, a chemical related to blood flow that also plays an important role in regulating endothelial function, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, researchers previously told TODAY.

The healthy oral care routine

Hoss recommended the following steps:

  • Start your morning oral care routine before breakfast, not after, because every time you eat, the mouth becomes acidic and you can damage your enamel if you brush right away — “The biggest mistake I see is people brushing their teeth after breakfast or after dinner. he notes. This is the time when the enamel is most vulnerable to damage, so you should wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after eating and drinking before brushing, he says.

  • After waking up, use an alkaline mouthwash to restore the mouth’s pH and loosen any plaque and particles that have built up overnight. This way you reach parts of the mouth that the toothbrush cannot reach.

  • Floss to remove plaque between your teeth. Any floss is better than no floss, but regular floss is best because you use a clean surface every time, Hoss said. Flossers with a handle would be his second choice, followed by water flossers.

  • Clean your tongue with a scraper or brush “because that’s another area people ignore and it’s a big source of bacteria that cause bad breath,” Hoss said.

  • Brush with a safe and effective toothpaste using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Repeat this routine before bed, but reverse the order so that the last oral care product you use before bed is the alkaline mouthwash, Hoss recommended.

  • In the 16 hours between morning and evening, he was a fan of using xylitol mouth spray or chewing xylitol gum to balance the mouth’s acidity throughout the day.

“It’s not really complicated: brush and floss routinely with the right oral care products. Visit your dentist regularly,” Hoss said. “Your oral health affects every part of your life.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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