The Bacteria that Make Up Dental Plaque

the bacteria that make up dental plaqueHopefully, you’re aware that dental plaque is the most consistent threat to your oral health. When oral bacteria accumulate, they form sticky, colorless plaque as protection against your mouth’s immune responses. There are over 600 different identifiable kinds of oral bacteria, a few of which have been singled out as directly responsible for causing destructive dental issues. Today, we explore two of the more notorious types of oral bacteria, and the processes that make them enemies to your smile.

Streptococcus mutans and Cavities

Remember being told as a child that eating too much candy will rot your teeth? It’s true, and the germ, Streptococcus mutans, is largely responsible for that. S. mutans, a significant contributor to dental plaque, converts sugar and other carbohydrates into acid, which depletes essential minerals that your teeth need to protect themselves against oral bacteria. Acid attacks can last 20 minutes or more after eating, after which your tooth can replenish its minerals and enamel can recover. Eating candy and snacking often increases the number of acid attacks on your teeth, which increases your risks of enamel erosion and cavities.

Porphyromonas gingivalis and Gum Disease

Acid isn’t the only method through which oral bacteria can threaten your smile. Another contributor to plaque, Porphyromonas gingivalis, manipulate your immune system’s inflammatory response. By evading this response, P. gingivalis can cause excessive inflammation when they accumulate along your gum line. While other microbes can irritate your gum tissue and cause it to separate slightly from your teeth, the inflammation of P. gingivalis infection greatly exacerbates the damage, paving the way for gum disease and possible tooth loss.