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Microbial Census: How Many Bacteria Live in Your Mouth?

August 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — jacksonvilledentalspecialistteam @ 8:21 pm

How many bacteria live in your mouth? Nobody has a hard answer. Because bacteria are so numerous and multiply so rapidly, counting them individually is impossible. Scientists estimate that between 500 and 650 species live in your mouth, but they don’t know how many exactly. Read on to learn more about the microbial multitudes living in your mouth right now and how preventative dentistry can keep them under control.

How Many Bacteria Live in My Mouth?

Fun fact: the human body contains far more individual bacteria than individual human cells. The bacterial population in the mouth alone is around six billion, which is comparable to the human population of planet Earth. This includes some species that are beneficial to oral health and other species that can do great harm by causing tooth decay or gum disease.

What Types of Bacteria Live in My Mouth?

Some of your oral bacteria can be good citizens of your body, like probiotics. These friendly little guys help clean up the plaque from your teeth, so they are like the stand-up members of the community who pick up litter off the street. They’re also kind of like the sheriff in town that helps remove disease-causing microbes from the gums.

Just like you have your good citizens, you also have your bad neighbors. Streptococcus mutans is a sugar-loving and acid-excreting organism that can wreak so much oral havoc. Market research shows that people love soda, ice cream, candy, potato chips, popcorn, and all sorts of treats. This is great for S. mutans because it is eager to feast on all that sugar and starch, so it can rapidly multiply and smear its acidic waste all over the place. These bacteria and their acids are the main culprits behind halitosis, gingivitis, and tooth decay.

What Can I Do About the Bacteria in My Mouth?

Luckily, there are ways for you to keep the good guys in while getting the bad guys out. Proper oral hygiene inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause decay and disease. Good daily oral hygiene consists of brushing teeth twice or between meals, flossing once, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. You can also buy probiotic supplements and lozenges, which can help you keep a healthy population of good bacteria.

Bacteria are nothing to fear in and of themselves because they are a part of the natural ecosystem and necessary for digestion and other vital bodily processes. By being aware of the nature of the bacteria in your mouth, you can make better decisions about how to take care of your oral health.

About the Practice

Jacksonville Dental Specialists is trusted to provide reliable and high-quality complex dental care to the community of Jacksonville, FL. Led by Drs. Matthew Nawrocki and Richard Aguila, the dedicated staff operates with the greatest care and latest technology while ensuring a comfortable environment for patients. Services include cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and periodontal therapy. If you would like more information about your oral bacteria population, contact the office online or dial (904) 323-0928.

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