Oral Hygiene is a Must for Germ-a-Phobes
Those suffering from Misophobia or Mysophobia are burdened with the fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs. A study has shown that nearly 80 percent of American’s are concerned about the little critters on their hands, but the reality is they should focus more on their dental health if they really want to lower the chances of defiling their health.
A 2011 “Healthy Mouths” report conducted by Johnson and Johnson Healthcare Products Division (the manufactures of mouthwash brand Listerine) found that while eight out of ten Americans are concerned about picking up disease carrying germs from public places, only 66 percent have the anxiety in regards to the organisms living in their mouths. While washing and sanitizing hands is important, the process of brushing, flossing and partaking in regular dental visits is equally relevant for general well being.
According to Sigmund Socransky, associate clinical professor of periodontology at Harvard University “In one mouth, the number of bacteria can easily exceed the number of people who live on Earth,” (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/08.22/01-oralcancer.html). These organisms band together and form colonies leading to excess dental plaque. According to 0900-DENTIST, dental plaque is comprised of more than 400 different oral bacteria and each mouth has more than 6 billion of them.
While the plaque community, a sticky film that can look off-white in appearance, can look harmless because of its size, the reality is that it will cause health issues. If left unchecked, the community will lead to gum disease and all the dental problems associated with that infection including halitosis and tooth decay. Science has proven that an excess of dental plaque can cause health problems such as strokes, diabetes and heart disease.
Smokers are at a greater risk for health problems caused by their bacteria and so are their loved ones. Studies have found that nicotine raises the levels of harmful tooth decaying bacteria even more. Caregivers who are also smokers can pass these infectious bacteria to their children via a kiss, increasing the odds of the youngsters developing an excess of bacteria and dental cavities.
Compared to the human mouth, human hands can appear to be sterile. Hands have approximately 150 types of bacteria and the type and quantity can vary from hand to hand and gender to gender. However, unlike teeth, hands can easily pick up more germs throughout the course of the day based on basic activities such as grocery shopping, meeting new people and even tending to private bathroom experiences.
It is that belief that has helped fuel the reactions gathered on the survey and the general fear of picking up germs. Some common infections that can be unknowingly picked up by human hands include the common cold, pink eye, salmonellosis, shigellosis, hepatitis A, giardiasis, enterovirus, amebiasis, typhoid, staphylococcal organisms, Epstein-barr virus and campylobacteriosis.
There is no denying the bacteria risk to the hands, however the odds of developing gum disease from dental neglect is much higher than catching an debilitating disease via the hand.
Keep It Clean
Individuals looking to minimize health risks must make regular hand washing and oral hygiene a part of their daily practices. When it comes to reducing hand germ exposure, individuals are advised to wipe down shopping cart handles prior to navigating aisles, avoid touching the handles on bathroom doors (use a paper towel instead) and avoid grabbing poles and grips on public transportation.
If those moves are not possible, washing your hands using the proper methodology ASAP should be a top priority. Individuals should begin by running their hands under warm water, using soap and scrubbing hands for 20 seconds making sure to get underneath fingernails and in between fingers and making sure run-off goes into the sink, not down one’s elbow. Individuals can then dry their hands using a fresh paper towel or air dryer.
When it comes to cleaning the human mouth, brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily is the best way to remove harmful bacteria. Brushing should take a full two minutes allowing 30 seconds for each dental quadrant. Using a fluoride toothpaste is recommend by many dentists. Individuals should pay special attention to brushing teeth gently while maneuvering a toothbrush to reach the back teeth and the gum lines.
After brushing, flossing will help remove dental plaque and food particles wedged between teeth and adhered to gum lines. Individuals are advised to use around 18 inches of dental floss and then take the thread, place it at the gum line and gentle maneuver the device between teeth starting from back to front and hitting every surface during the process.
If dental plaque has already hardened into dental tartar, only a cleaning from a professional dentist will do.