You can’t see them, feel them or taste them, but your mouth is home to entire colonies of microorganisms. While most of these tiny oral bacteria do us no harm, there are other species in the mix that are disease causing and can affect our health and need to be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.
Over 700 different strains of bacteria have been detected in the human mouth, though most people are only host to 34 to 72 different varieties. Most of these bacterial species appear to be harmless when it comes to our health. Others, known as probiotics, are beneficial bacteria that aid in the digestion of foods. Other bacteria actually protect our teeth and gums. There are some bacteria, however, that we’d rather do without, since they cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Streptococcus Mutans: This is the bacteria that causes tooth decay. As the bacteria consumes the starches and sugars in our mouth it produces plaque and acids that break down tooth enamel causing dental decay.
Porphyromonas Gingivalis: This bacteria is not usually present in a healthy mouth, but when it does appear is it strongly connected to periodontitis. Is a serious and progressive disease that effects the gingival tissue and bone that supports your teeth.
You can manage the bacteria in your mouth by maintaining good oral hygiene and routine dental visits with your dental hygienist and dentist.