Oral Bacteria and Your Dental Health

oral bacteria and dental healthIt may sound gross, but your teeth, tongue, and gums share the space in your mouth with about 10-15 billion microbes. Before you gag and try to spit them all out, you should know that the majority of oral bacteria are not harmful, and actually help fight bad breath and infection. The ones that are malicious, however, can be pretty scary, once you learn what they’re capable of, and controlling these oral bacteria is paramount for keeping your dental health in optimal condition.

Streptococcus Mutans and Tooth Decay

A lot of people believe that cavities are formed when you consume too much sugar. That’s not exactly correct. The bacteria Streptococcus mutans metabolize the sugar and carbs you consume, and then excrete lactic acid onto the surface of your teeth. This acid is responsible for attacking your teeth and weakening your enamel, breaking down your tooth’s defense to allow bacteria easy access. Since S. mutans are anaerobic (does not require oxygen), they are fond of latching onto the surfaces in between adjacent teeth. This fondness makes them especially dangerous, since the minimal space between your teeth is one of the hardest to reach tooth surfaces.

Porphyromonas Gingivalis and Gum Disease

Even more dangerous than S. mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis are the main reason why we develop gum disease. P. gingivalis make their presence known by inciting your body’s inflammatory response. The first sign of gum disease is red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums. In the same manner that P. gingivalis inflame your gums, it can enter your bloodstream through infected gum tissue and cause similar reactions throughout your body, like your heart. This is the same bacterium that is suspected of linking gum disease to chronic inflammatory diseases like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease.


Dr. Bob Jing has served patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth for many years. Together with his caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled team at 7 Day Dental, Dr. Jing is dedicated to making good dental health available to as many people as possible. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation or appointment, contact our office closest to you at 817-405-2001 on Jacksboro Highway, or at 817-405-0195 on Seminary Drive.