The Two Types of Bacteria that Cause Gum Disease

male with healthy smileYour mouth is full of good and bad bacteria that usually coexist in harmony. In fact, research shows you may be living with anywhere from 34 to 72 different strains at once. When everything is in balance, the good bacteria keeps the not-so-good in check and all is well. However, oral health issues arise when the bad bacteria overpower the good. When that is the case, you may experience anything from a cavity or two to total tooth loss as a result of gum disease in Belmont. It is important to learn about the two most common types of risky bacteria and how you can manage them for a clean, healthy, long-lasting smile.

Bad Bacteria

We know that there have been around 700 strains of bacteria detected in the human mouth to-date. Of these, the two harmful types of bacteria that commonly exist in the mouth are:

Streptococcus mutans: This type of bacteria exists naturally in your mouth, so everyone has it. The strain lives off of the sugars and starches in the food that you eat. Streptococcus mutans produces enamel-eroding substances as it digests — and that is what causes tooth decay (i.e. cavities).

Porphyromonas gingivalis: This bacteria is not naturally present in your mouth. When it does appear, it is closely associated with gum disease/periodontitis — which eventually leads to tooth loss if it is not managed properly.

Managing Oral Bacteria

Once you have a strain of bacteria in your mouth, you will not be able to remove it — but you can take necessary steps to manage its growth and effects. Maintaining a proper oral hygiene regimen by brushing your teeth twice a day (or after each meal) and flossing between teeth will help to keep the bacteria in check and prevent tooth decay or gum disease from taking hold. You may also want to up your intake of oral health-promoting foods like dark, leafy greens, citrus, and other fresh fruits and vegetables which build up tooth enamel and increase collagen production for stronger teeth and healthier gums.

Additional steps for promoting better oral health include:

  • Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning
  • Seek treatment for gum disease as soon as possible to avoid progressive deterioration of gum tissue

Meet the Periodontist

Dr. Alexander Schrott is the periodontist Belmont, MA turns to for experienced care in a state-of-the-art office. Dr. Schrott completed his certificate in Periodontology and obtained a Master of Medical Sciences at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 2007. He has been providing excellent services ever since. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to contact the office by calling (617) 484-9240.