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Name: Charles Cole
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Question:
Is a dog's mouth cleaner than a human's?



Replies:
Charles, Indeed, I have heard that this is true, but I don't have any scientific report handy which confirms it. What I have heard in the past is that, on occasion, if someone is accidentally bitten by a person, the bite is considered quite serious.

If a study ever were done, I'm sure the actual 'cleanliness' of a human versus canine mouth would have to be compared based on a variety of normal foodstuffs consumed by each group (in the humans case, maybe hot dogs, cereal, soda, roast beef, etc) and the canines (dog food, garbage cans, various animal remnants found in the neighborhood). I'm sure you can see that there would certainly be occasions where the human's mouth would register as cleaner just because of what had been eaten earlier. Another house-kept dog, fed only purchased dog food and kept 'squeaky-clean' might register cleaner than perhaps a person with poor mouth hygiene. Since we humans regularly do floss and brush, and gargle, I am sure many of us do our best to try to 'keep up with Fido'. :)

I hope this information helps!

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric (rickru)


A possibility is that dogs' mouths are not "cleaner" at all, but that people bites are worse simply because the germs living in peoples' mouths are all germs that can attack you, whereas most of the germs living in a dog's mouth couldn't even if they got under your skin. They're *dog* germs, right? Specially adapted to living in dogs and not people. There aren't that many species of bacteria that can live in more than one species, although those that do are a real pain. Smallpox, you see, pretty much only lived in humans, so that when all humans were vaccinated the disease just died out. Tetanus, on the other hand, lives in cows as well as people, rabies lives in bats and raccoons, malaria in mosquitoes, plague in rats, etc. Since you can't take health care to the wild animals, you can't wipe out these diseases.

Christopher Grayce



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