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How Mouth Bacteria Can Be Helpful & Harmful

closeup of a woman sticking out her tongue

Some people immediately hear the word “bacteria” and think it must be all bad but that’s not the case. There’s bacteria that can lead to infection and disease, but there’s also bacteria that helps our body function the way we want it to. We can see how these two types of bacteria play out in the mouth where there are literally millions of bacteria hanging out as weird as that may sound.

The Helpful Bacteria

Let’s start with the good stuff! The helpful bacteria we have in our mouth perform a few different jobs. Some of it helps break apart our food, which aids our digestion. That’s right, the digestion process is already starting in your mouth! Some other bacteria promote saliva production, and that saliva washes away food bits, acid, and the less helpful bacteria so that it isn’t left to sit on our teeth. Who knew saliva was so useful, huh? That’s why if you deal with dry mouth, you’re more at risk of developing cavities.

The Harmful Bacteria

Now it’s time to move onto the harmful bacteria! There are some bacteria in our mouth that feeds off of sugars and carbohydrates from the food we eat. Then, it produces an acid, and that acid can wear away at our tooth enamel. That’s actually how we get cavities, which are literally little holes in our teeth. Other types of harmful bacteria can infect our gum tissue and lead to gum disease. When that bacterium is present, you may notice that your gums are bleeding, swollen, or even receding.

Fight Off Bad Oral Bacteria at Trillium Dental

Have more dental-related questions? Need help fighting off bad bacteria from damaging your smile? Trillium Dental is there for you! Contact our Portland office today to set up your next appointment. We provide a wide array of services, including professional teeth cleanings, tooth-colored dental fillings, and so much more.

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