Right now, there are about 10-15 billion bacteria in your mouth, classified into over 600 different identifiable strains. Many types of bacteria are essential to maintaining your body’s delicate ecological balance, and many of the microbes in your mouth do exactly that. Some, however, are dangerous, and can become severely detrimental to your teeth, gums, facial structures, and more if not addressed. Today, we take a look at the most harmful oral bacteria and how failing to control them can lead to disastrous consequences for more than just your teeth and gums.
The Most Notorious Oral Bacteria
Porphyromonas gingivalis are perhaps the most notorious of the various bacteria that can lead to oral health issues. Their propensity for inciting your body’s inflammatory response makes them especially dangerous, and is the main factor in their involvement in gum disease. As contributors to the formation of dental plaque (the sticky collection of bacteria that adheres to your teeth at times), P. gingivalis collect along your gum line. If not removed (by brushing and flossing, for instance), the germs can irritate your gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth. The formation of these small periodontal pockets, along with the customary red and inflamed gums, is a sign of the first stage of gum disease: gingivitis. While germs can spell bad news by themselves, the destructive force behind progressive gum disease is inflammation, which is your immune system’s response to the presence of harmful pathogens and other unwanted biological agents.
The Destruction of Unchecked Inflammation
As gum disease progresses, it damages the connective tissue that holds your gums to your teeth, which can cause your teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in America. Because it is progressive, it will not stop if you do not treat it. The disease will continue to destroy your gum tissue, and can spread down through your teeth’s supporting structures, destroying your jawbone as well. Over time, the reduction in your jawbone’s mass and density can lead to noticeable effects on your facial structures, such as the sinking of your cheeks and jawbones (a condition known as facial collapse).
Learn More About Controlling Harmful Oral Bacteria
To prevent severe periodontal disease, tooth loss, and facial collapse resulting from harmful oral bacteria, be sure to visit your dentist or periodontal specialist as often as recommended. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kania by calling her periodontal office in Encinitas/San Diego, CA, at (760) 642-0711.