Mouth and Bacteria
Country: United States
Date: August 2006
Why would the mouth be a favorable location for bacteria?
Like any place on earh where the conditions are favorable...moisture,
nutrients, temperature, competing organisms. The bacteria that populate the
human mouth are rather different tha those of the dog for instance. If a
person is helthy the system has evolved in a sort of
symbiotic...commensalism....since our mouths are obviuosly not sterile, it
is best that we have evolved with our bacteria to provide them with a home
and they keep in check bacteria that good do us harm....if the balance is
out of whack, we can end up with thrush.
Because the mouth is warm and wet which are ideal conditions (bacteria
require water for growth and they multiply faster in warmer conditions).
Also the mouth contains alot of nutrients for bacteria from the food which
passes through the mouth. Lastly, the mouth is exposed to food and the
environment which contain many bacteria.
Ron Baker, Ph.D.
To thrive, bacteria require a source of food, possibly oxygen depending upon
the species, water, and warm temperatures. All these are constantly found in
the mouth. However, there are also negative factors that control just how
many bacteria can thrive at a given time. These include: there natural life
span, chemicals found in saliva, swallowing which moves bacteria from the
mouth to the stomach which is very acidic (pH about 2) which kills off many
Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives
Update: June 2012