The true story about tooth decay

So what it is it… for real?

Many people might be shocked to learn what actually causes that nasty plaque that builds up in your mouth. Some are under the impression that it is merely just the bits of food that have settled on your teeth. While it is partly responsible for the build up you’ll surely develop if you practice poor oral hygiene, the truth of the matter is a bit more sinister.

That nasty film is in fact the byproduct of bacteria that lives in your mouth. You heard it right. You have microscopic crawlies living in your mouth. Streptococcus mutans, along with Streptococcus sobrinusthe fancy names for said crawlies, essentially digests the food from your teeth and what it excretes is the highly acidic film that eats away at your pearly whites. While it is perfectly normal to have bacteria in the mouth, according to, it’s the combination of excessive amounts of fermentable substances along with these bacteria that causes the problems.

Bacteria on my teeth?

That is correct. In fact, you have on average about forty different species of bacteria in your mouth at any one time. Scientists have discovered more than seven-hundred species total that have been known to populate the human mouth. Left untreated, plaque build up can result in caries, also known as cavities. There have also been findings that link poor oral hygiene to heart disease. Before you freak out, here are the facts about what goes on in the average person’s mouth. While accumulating at least some form of bacteria is unavoidable, with regular brushing and flossing, the effects of this microbe of the mouth can be benign. There is actually good bacteria that lives in there too. These organisms actually eat the compounds in your mouth that can cause bad breath according to It’s the combination of certain types of bacteria in conjunction with certain foods that gives mouth bacteria a bad rap.

So what should I do about it?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. Brush and floss everyday. It is also recommended that you monitor your diet and regulate the foods you eat that are high is sugar and acids, as these highly perpetuate the symptoms. It is also a smart idea to schedule regular appointments with your dentist. At Cosmetic Dental Associates, scheduling an appointment and seeing one of our specialists is easy and convenient.

Wrapping it up…

Establishing proper oral hygiene has part of your day is your best defense against tooth decay. Much like putting on shoes or driving to work, brushing and flossing can become routine, and while it may take a few extra minutes in the morning and night, the long term effects of good oral hygiene results in not only fresher breath and a whiter smile, but the health of the rest of your body will be better as well.