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Balancing Good and Bad Bacteria in Your Mouth

by | May 23, 2018

Don’t panic, but your mouth is full of germs, bacteria, and even certain types of fungi. According to a study reported by the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, there are more than 700 different types of bacteria in the human mouth. However, not all of the bacteria in your mouth is bad. Some of it is actually beneficial for your oral health. In fact, some of the bacteria helps you digest food while destroying the bad bacteria. Unfortunately, an overabundance of bad bacteria can lead to gum disease and infections in the soft tissues of your mouth.

Understanding the Importance of the Bacteria in Your Mouth

The health of your mouth depends on all the bacteria that resides in your mouth and how much of that bacteria is good and how much of it is bad. The good bacteria helps keep the bad bacteria in check and contributes to healthy teeth and gums and good breath. When the bad bacteria in your mouth outnumber the good bacteria, it causes an increased risk of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth decay. Not to mention, your breath will not smell good.

Good Bacteria

Your mouth needs good bacteria. These germs help break down food and kill the bad bacteria that can lead to oral health problems. They perform this task by producing certain proteins that control the growth of bad bacteria, according to Healthline. Good bacteria tend to thrive in neutral to high pH environments. When you have an abundance of good mouth bacteria, you will have better-smelling breath. You will notice fewer instances of dry mouth, and you will not develop as many cavities or gum problems.

Bad Bacteria

Excessive levels of bad mouth bacteria can contribute to bad breath. In fact, if your breath smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, there’s a good chance that you have an explosion of bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria. This can increase your risk of developing cavities and tooth decay, and these bad bacteria can even lead to gum inflammation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Bad bacteria tend to thrive in low pH environments that do not contain a lot of oxygen, including inside plaque and tartar.

Controlling the Bacteria in Your Mouth

Rather than trying to kill all the bacteria in the mouth, individuals should strive to control the growth of bad bacteria. Controlling the bad bacteria in your mouth starts with choosing the right foods. In general, you should always strive to eat lots of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits, especially those that are crunchy or stringy, like apples and celery. These foods will help clean your teeth. You should also limit the times you eat. Snacking all day can contribute to acid attacks, which lowers the pH balance of your mouth and contributes to the growth of bad bacteria.

Next, you should strive to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. If you use mouthwash, you may want to choose a mouthwash that does not contain high levels of alcohol. This can kill off all the bacteria in your mouth, even the good bacteria.

Lastly, you will want to schedule two dental cleanings a year. Professional dental cleanings help remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth and below the gum line where they can contribute to the growth of bad bacteria and the development of gum disease and bad breath.

If you are concerned about bad breath or the health of your teeth and gums, your dentist can help you. While the primary reasons for bad breath and gum disease is an excessive buildup of plaque, tartar, and bad bacteria, there are other reasons why your breath may smell bad and why you keep experiencing cavities or inflamed, swollen gums. Your dentist can examine your mouth and provide you with treatment options to help your breath smell fresh and keep your teeth and gums healthy.


Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3608.