Bacteria in Your Mouth: Your Oral Ecosystem

Scientist Discover More About Bacterial Behaviors

The word “bacteria” has gained many negative connotations. Our germ-phobic culture creates products that claim to disinfect 99.9% of bacteria; antibacterial gel dispensers reside on bank teller desks, classroom walls, and grocery store registers everywhere. But did you know that not all bacteria is negative, especially in your mouth? Scientists are learning more every day about the differences in oral bacteria, how the bacteria interact, and where they reside in our mouths.

What Microbiologists Say About Your Mouth

According to a recent National Public Radio story, ecologists are exploring the mouth like any other ecosystem. Microbiologist, Dr. Paster of the Forsyth Institute, explains that anywhere from 75-100 species cohabitate our mouths at any given time, and each species is partial to a certain location in the mouth. For instance, a different type of bacteria will reside on the top of the tongue than on the sides of the tongue. The scientists describe how “good” bacteria in a healthy mouth will form a shield of protection so that harmful pathogens cannot land on the mouth.

What bacteria is harmful in your mouth?

Aside from the bacteria that causes illnesses like stomach viruses, the main oral pathogens you may be concerned with are streptococcus mutans and porphyromonas gingivalis. Streptoccoccus mutans, or S. mutans, are the pathogens responsible for cavities. These bacteria break down sugars and starches to create acid which erodes your healthy tooth structure. Periodontal disease is caused by an infection from porphyromonas gingivalis which collects with other bacteria in periodontal pockets.

Preventing Cavities in Chicago

While scientists continue to discover more about the nature of oral bacteria, they determine that complete oral hygiene is still the best way to prevent harmful bacteria from creating negative consequences to your oral health. You can prevent gum disease and tooth decay by scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings with your Chicago dentist, Dr. Fondriest. Contact our Lake Forest, IL, dental practice at 847-234-0517. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, we can offer a wide range of dental treatments for patients from the entire Chicago Metro area

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