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How to Protect Your Mouth From Infection

Paying attention to your dental health is crucial if you want to prevent oral infection. While the mouth is home to a myriad of good bacteria, various factors, like sugary food and poor oral hygiene, can lead to bad bacteria and viruses entering and accumulating in the mouth. Know the risks and how to prevent them.

Types of Oral Infections

The dark, wet, and warm environment of the mouth makes it a good thriving place for 500 different species of mouth bacteria. Poor dental hygiene usually amplifies the population of harmful bacteria, which increases your risk of mouth abscess and decay, gum diseases, and other types of infections. While most infections are preventable with proper oral hygiene, untreated infections can become advanced and stick around for some time.

Here are some of the most common types of oral infections:

Dental Caries

Dental caries is one of the most common forms of dental infections and the leading cause of tooth loss in children aged 12 and below. It is often caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. Untreated dental caries can lead to tooth decay.

Tonsil Stones

The combination of bacteria and other debris can get stuck in the nooks of the tonsils. Over time, the hardened debris can turn into tonsil stones. Among the common tonsil stone symptoms include:

  • Inflamed and swollen tonsil
  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Persistent cough due to tonsil irritation
  • Painful ear
  • White-like debris at the back of the throat
  • Unpleasant breath due to sulphur gases trapped in the tonsils

In most cases, tonsil stones are small and go away on their own. However, large-sized stones may require medical treatment or antibiotics to control the infection.


When the bacteria that cause gingivitis settles in the crevices of your gums, they produce toxins that result in gum inflammation and bleeding, causing the gums to bleed each time you brush your teeth. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease

When bacteria remain uncontrolled and spread below the gum line, they can cause significant damage to the supporting bones and tissues, which results in periodontal disease. Bacteria start to create pockets around the teeth and cause inflammation and bone loss. This eventually loosens your teeth due to bone destruction. Breathing in these bacteria can increase your risk of pneumonia.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

A virus called “Coxsackie A16” can cause hand, foot, and mouth disease in toddlers and school-aged children. An infected child may experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever that lasts for about 1 to 2 days
  • Sore throat
  • Painful mouth sores and lesions that appear on the tongue, cheeks, palms, butt, and soles of the feet

With immediate treatment, the infection usually lasts for three days.


Although related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, herpangina is a type of viral infection that is common during the summer and fall seasons and affects children 3 to 10 years old. While its symptoms are similar to a hand, foot, and mouth disease, small blisters can turn into large-sized mouth ulcers once they rupture. Additionally, an infected child could experience episodes of excessive vomiting and drooling. While alcohol-free mouthwash cannot treat herpangina, it can help relieve painful symptoms and kill plaque-causing bacteria. Fortunately, its symptoms usually clear out after 3 to 5 days.

Oral Thrush

Uncontrolled growth of candida, a fungal organism that thrives in the mouth, can lead to oral thrush. White or cottage cheese-like lesions can spread in the mouth, affecting the palette, cheeks, tonsils, gums, and back of the throat, and bleed when irritated. Oral thrust lesions can become painful, making eating and swollen difficult.

Mouth Infection Prevention Tips

Practicing good hygiene is the best way to care for your mouth and prevent oral infections.

  • Frequent Hand Washing
    It can kill harmful bacteria and viruses and prevent them from getting in your mouth, which can increase your risk of infection or worsen existing dental conditions.
  • Stop Smoking Tobacco Products
    Smoking reduces the blood supply to the gum tissues and can increase your risk of gum disease. Restricted blood flow can delay the healing process after oral surgery, making you more susceptible to infection. Additionally, smokers are more likely to have more dental plaque, which aggravates gum disease.
  • Eating a Healthy Diet
    Proper nutrition plays an important role in boosting the immune system and fighting off infections. Eating fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, can do wonders not only to your body but also to your dental health. If your mouth feels dry, chew raw fruits and vegetables to stimulate the production of saliva and wash away food particles and acids.
  • Keep Alcohol Consumption in Moderation
    Drinking alcohol in moderation is a part of a healthy lifestyle. However, too much alcohol consumption can throw off the balance of good and harmful oral bacteria and put you at risk of gum infection. A variety of studies reported that heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause a significant change in the overall composition of the oral microbes. Alcohol can kill beneficial bacteria and increases harmful bacteria that cause mouth inflammation.
  • Good Oral Hygiene – Good dental hygiene includes brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing and using a mouth rinse can eliminate the bacteria that contribute to tooth decay and stimulate the gums to keep gum diseases at bay.
  • Regular Dental Checkup – Visiting your dentist for a professional dental checkup every 6 months helps detect the early stages of infection and diseases. Regular teeth cleanings can effectively remove tartar, which cannot be cleared away with brushing and flossing. The dentist will also check your gums using a specialized tool that measures the depth of the spaces between the gums and teeth.

Regardless of age, anyone is at risk of developing mouth infections. Untreated infections can cause oral bacteria and viruses to enter the body. Once they get into the bloodstream, bacteria and viruses can spread to different organs, causing serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory infection and illnesses, dementia, complications in pregnancy, diabetes, infertility, kidney disease, and even cancer.

When to Call a Dentist

If you suspect a mouth infection, make sure to call a reliable dentist as soon as possible. Never wait for a minor infection to become severe. Serious infection in the mouth can be considered a dental emergency since it can affect your overall health if not treated immediately.

Oral problems that require prompt treatment to stop the bleeding of the gums, relieve mouth pain, treat infections, or save a tooth are dental emergencies.

Call us today at (519) 767-6453 or use of contact form to request an appointment.

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