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Are dogs’ mouths really cleaner than humans?

We’ve all heard it said that our dog’ mouths are cleaner than our own. But is this just to make us feel better when Fido licks baby Kayla on the mouth?

In fact, should we be worried when a dog gives us a big, wet pooch kiss?

Well the reality is this: the bacteria in a human mouth differs quite a bit from that in a dog’s mouth. In fact, most bacteria found in a dog’s mouth probably won’t give you a human disease even if it makes its way into your own mouth. Unless Fido has been rooting around in garbage or sniffing some old roadkill in the yard, it’s quite possible that kissing a dog is actually less risky than kissing a human!

Researchers identified more than 700 different types of bacteria in the human mouth alone while the number of unique bacteria types found in a dog’s mouth tends to be around 500 different types.

Bacteria are tiny single-celled organisms and most are not dangerous at all. In fact, 1,000 bacterium could fit across a single pencil eraser. And they are everywhere. Bacteria live in soil, water, and one nearly every surface we encounter — including our own bodies, both inside and out.

Now, the cleaner you keep your dog’s mouth the better. This can be achieved with regular tooth care while at the vet or groomers, or at least by giving your pet a good chew toy to help loosen stuck on food particles that cause bacteria to linger.

And, of course, the cleaner you keep your own mouth… with daily brushing, flossing and the use of mouthwash, the better too! When left unchecked, some bacteria do cause infection and disease. When it comes to our mouths, the bacteria known as P. gingivalis is responsible for gum disease ranging from mild gingivitis to more advanced periodontitis, which has serious and lasting effects on our oral health.

So it’s important to make and keep your appointments with your friends at Longmeadow Family Dental Care. We’ll help make sure you keep your smile happy, healthy and ready for Fido’s kisses!