What types of bacteria live in the mouth?

The human mouth contains many different types of bacteria. That's not all bad news: some bacteria in the mouth perform important functions that help keep your mouth healthy. Unfortunately, some bacteria also damage teeth. Two strains of bacteria found in the mouth are particularly destructive: Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli. When these and other types of bacteria are allowed to flourish, they produce acid that causes tooth decay. Brushing your teeth and flossing daily are essential to preventing damage to teeth by mouth bacteria.
Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
There are two types of bacteria. Aerobic bacteria live with oxygen, love the company of food particles in the mouth and feed on sugar. Anaerobic bacteria exist without oxygen and feed off dead skin cells and other bacteria. Both need to exist in your mouth, but when your oral environment gets out of balance, that's when the trouble starts. Anaerobic bacteria are not only responsible for creating bad breath, but they also create plaque, which leads to inflammation in the gums, which leads to both tooth loss and bone loss. And this is what we call periodontal disease.
Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty

More About this Book

Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty

Renowned dentist and creator of the GoSMILE product line Dr. Levine offers this complete guide to getting a whiter, brighter smile. 15 photos & illustrations.

Continue Learning about Tooth & Mouth Disorders

How can I relieve the pain of mouth sores?
Intermountain HealthcareIntermountain Healthcare
Mouth sores usually go away in 4 to 7 days. Here's what to do for pain until then: Gargle with c...
More Answers
How common is temporomandibular disorder (TMD)?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
If you have frequent headaches, earaches, tender jaw muscles, dull, aching facial pain or feel like ...
More Answers
How do soft drinks cause tooth decay?
Rita MedwidRita Medwid
Soft drinks have phosphoric acid and citric acid, which wear away the enamel of the tooth. Also, Gat...
More Answers
Can Gum Disease Affect Your Overall Health?
Can Gum Disease Affect Your Overall Health?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.