Dog's mouth

Ralf Ralf.Hartemink at
Mon Nov 3 12:56:54 EST 1997

On Sat, 01 Nov 1997 02:16:18 GMT, temp at (roy) wrote:

>An article of Dear Abby's today states that there is less bacteria
>in a dog's mouth than on the back of a baby's hand and in a toliet
>COMBINED.  To which Abby agress.  The writter states " anyone with
>a year of high school biology would know" and Abby states "this is true, as hundreds
>of readers tell me."
>Well, I think this is absolute BS.  On of the URBAN Myths, but I don't 
>have any hard data to back me up.  Could some of the learnned people 
>here help me out?  Comments?
>rehutch at

Well, it sounds not very logical to me. A (human mouth) contains lots
of bacteria, approx. 1.000.000 per ml saliva and up to 10e10 per gram
plaque. Add to this all the oral surfaces with 10.000 - 100.000 per
cm2 and you have quite a high number of bacteria. I don't think a
dog's mouth would be very different.
A human hand contains several million bacteria, which is much less
than the mouth. 
A toilet is generally relatively clean (sounds strange !) with not
more than 100.000 per ml in the water and even less on the surfaces.
Deeper in the toilet the number obviously rise considerably, but after
flushing the water is relatively clean.

Ralf Hartemink
Wageningen Agricultural University
The Netherlands

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