We all know that not brushing and flossing your teeth causes cavities. But everyone knows that. So we’re here to ask the deeper questions: Why?
Why do you develop cavities if you don’t brush your teeth? What kind of bacteria grow in your mouth that cause your teeth to decay?
Bacteria’s Got a Sweet Tooth
The problem with not brushing your teeth is that the bacteria in your mouth can then use the leftover food particles for their dinner. They take the sugars and convert them into acid plaque. This is not the same plaque that causes gum disease. Instead, this plaque softens the enamel and dentin, eventually causing a hole as the tooth is dissolved by bacteria and saliva.
But What Bacteria Cause Cavities?
There are many, many different types of bacteria. Think of bacteria types as different nationalities living on the earth. There are just so many different types and varieties. Here are just a few bacteria that are especially common in your mouth. It is thanks to these guys listed here when you develop a cavity.
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus – This bacteria loves to hide out in the nooks and crannies of your teeth. This is perfect for them, because that is also where food likes to go when you’re chewing. It’s really important to brush in all the crevices, because these bacteria are a major cause of tooth decay, especially in young children under the age of 12.
- Streptococcus – While good old lactobacillus is hanging out in the “caves” of the teeth, there are 6 different types of streptococcus that work on the smooth surfaces and sides. Flossing is essential to getting rid of these bad boys. Because it can be very difficult to see these cavities, they are often caught by using x-rays.
- Odontomyces Viscoses – Older people are more prone to attacks from these bacteria, as they like to attack the cementum, or the outer layer of the tooth’s root that is usually hidden under dental bone. Stay safe from gum disease and receding gum lines if you don’t want these bacteria coming from off your tongue and onto your teeth.
No matter what type of bacteria is causing your cavities, you need to work hard to fight against them!