The role bacteria plays in gum disease and tooth decay – what you can do

The role bacteria plays in gum disease and tooth decay – what you can do

The role bacteria plays in gum disease and tooth decay – what you can do

It may be surprising to learn but your mouth is home to an estimated 300 different species of bacteria. Bacteria are teeny tiny living beings that move, eat, grow, reproduce and discharge waste. It is waste from these organisms that causes dental plaque. Plaque allows bacteria to stick to the teeth longer, eventually producing acids. These acids wear down tooth enamel and cause cavities. The bacteria that hangs around your gum produces similar toxic products that enter gum tissue, causing gingivitis. The plaque created from these bacteria can cause gums to become red, sensitive and susceptible to bleeding.

Tooth decay

Foods with refined sugar helps trigger the waste, e.g soft drink, confectionary, energy drinks and processed food. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria commonly associated with tooth decay and is present in all areas of the mouth. When it comes into contact with sugar it releases waste that causes decay. It’s also important to note that a diet high in processed foods reduces your intake of essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins such as A, D and C are critical to healthy teeth and protecting against tooth decay.

Gum disease

Two types of bacteria are commonly associated with gum disease – Treponema denticola and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Both of which can survive without oxygen and multiply to cause inflammation of the gums. When these organisms produce toxins it disrupts cultures of normal and healthy oral bacteria.

What can you do?

  • Brush your teeth twice a day – brushing your tongue, gums and teeth helps remove bacteria
  • Flossing at least once a day – flossing helps remove bacteria between the gum and tooth
  • Regular hygiene and dental exams – regular cleans (at least once every 6 months) helps remove the buildup of plaque and tartar, preventing against cavities and gum disease.
  • Eat a whole foods diet low in processed food – these organisms love sugar, so the best thing you can do is starve them of it.