You might be surprised to find out just how many different types of bacteria are typically found in your mouth. In fact, according to the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, there are over 700 separate types of bacteria commonly found in the human mouth. There’s no need to panic, though – while there are generally about 70 different types of bacteria, both good and bad, in the average person’s mouth at any given time, most occur naturally and cause no harm to your overall oral health and wellness.
Some bacteria, however, can contribute to dental decay and gum disease if not treated for or are left in the mouth for a long period of time. Poor dental hygiene can also allow bad bacteria to accumulate and grow. In order to care for your mouth, you’ll need to learn about these different types of bacterias and how they affect your mouth’s ecosystem daily.
What Types of Bacteria Can Live in Your Mouth?
Of the many different types of bacteria found in the human mouth, most occur naturally and cause no harm. For example, some bacteria, such as probiotics, not only contribute to oral wellness but also your overall health. You ingest probiotic bacteria daily, unintentionally as food contamination, or purposefully through yogurt or fermented cheese and other milk products.
On the other hand, there are also types of bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, that can contribute to gum disease and dental decay. These bacteria thrive in the mouth, feeding off sugars and starches you consume. When Streptococcus mutans makes contact with sugar or sucrose-containing products, they multiply and secrete acids and other substances that compromise your teeth’s enamel, which results in tooth decay.
What Bacteria Causes Periodontal Disease?
The two most common bacterial culprits that cause periodontal disease are Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola. These bacteria are anaerobic, meaning that they can survive without oxygen. Both of these bacteria produce toxins that cause inflammation of the gums when they multiply. They infiltrate the areas around the gum line, eventually leading to a breaking down of the connective tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This causes teeth to loosen and can ultimately result in the need to have teeth removed and replaced with dental implants over time.
How Is Bacteria Collected in the Mouth?
Bacteria collects throughout the mouth, especially on the teeth and gums, every time you eat or drink anything that isn’t water. They can live in crevices on the tongue, as well as in the back of the throat and parts of the inner cheek. Brushing your teeth and tongue, flossing, and rinsing with an antibacterial product daily is key to reducing the bacteria buildup between teeth and along the gums. Being stringent with your oral health care routine can help your mouth from collecting too much bacteria overall.
What Can Happen From Too Much Bad Bacteria in Your Mouth?
Tooth decay and gum disease are just some of the things you could experience when the wrong type of bacteria takes over your mouth’s flora. Bad breath is a common sign of an overgrowth of bad bacteria due to a build-up of food debris and bacterial plaque. Poor dental hygiene allows thick bacteria to accumulate and cling to your teeth, gums, and tongue.
If you experience bleeding when you brush, or your gums are puffy, gingivitis might be the cause. Without treatment, this can result in severe damage to the gums and bone structure and could lead to periodontitis. Skipping out on your bi-yearly dental cleanings could also be allowing for more bacteria to be gathering in those hard to reach corners and cracks.
How to Get Rid of Bad Mouth Bacteria
Bacteria can’t thrive when you practice good dental hygiene. Daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing are key to controlling harmful bacteria – just make sure the products you use are soft enough to access areas between teeth and gums, while also abrasive enough to remove bacteria. It only takes between 12 to 24 hours for plaque to form, so be sure to brush often.
In addition to practicing good hygiene, cut down on your intake of sweets. While we enjoy sweets and high-carbohydrate snacks, so do bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans. The more sugar you provide for bacteria to feast on, the more they create harmful acids that accumulate on your teeth.
Brushing after every meal or drink that isn’t water is also a good way to get rid of bad mouth bacteria. This way, the bacteria in your mouth aren’t feeding for too long. The key here is to wait 30 minutes after your last bite to brush your teeth. Brushing too soon after having sugary foods can actually end up ruining your enamel. This is because those sugars combine with the bacteria and plaque that are currently in your mouth to create a harmful paste that can causes abrasion to your enamel when you brush.
Schedule Regular Dental Visits
In addition to practicing good dental hygiene, regularly-scheduled dental care is an important part of your oral health. Your dentist can determine whether harmful bacteria is affecting your teeth and gums, and develop a strategy to eliminate the source. Seeing your dentist at least two times per year helps you prevent and treat oral issues which can not only affect your teeth and gums but can also cause complications to your whole body.
At Smiles by Shields, we practice holistic dentistry to support your whole body’s wellness. Dr. Tiffany Shields addresses all of your holistic and cosmetic dental health concerns. Contact today to find out why we’re the dentist Jacksonville residents trust!