March 15, 2020 4 min read
The fundamental cause of gum disease, tooth decay and even bad breath lies with the bacteria found in your mouth or, more broadly, your oral cavity.The “bad” bacteria are also sometimes referred to as pathogens (the Greeks used the word “pathos” to refer to disease, or a bad experience and “gen” can mean “to create or cause”). So a pathogen=create a disease.
The medical word for your gums is “gingiva” and so from this we get the condition called “gingivitis” which is when the gum tissue around your teeth become inflamed and red.
In simple terms, bacteria attach to your tooth surface. Then more bacteria colonize and this creates something called “biofilm.” (Simple word, just a film on top of a surface that is made of living organisms, such as bacteria) This biofilm matures and hardens, making dental plaque. This plaque irritates and infects the gums, causing inflammation or gingivitis.
If the bacterial biofilm does not build-up, or is removed, then the gingivitis also goes away. Generally, gingivitis is reversible with good dental hygiene, but if left untreated can lead to tooth loss and periodontal disease.
Interestingly, certain bacteria are directly associated to tooth decay because they produce lots of acidic byproducts. When these bacteria are predominant in the biofilm on your teeth, then their acid byproducts destroy enamel and so you get a cavity.
As the authors of the above reference study* stated in their conclusion:
“Lactobacillus and S. salivarius had inhibitory effect on periodontal pathogens in the oral microflora.”
Or, in simpler terms, the test oral probiotics helped to inhibit, slow down, the growth of bad bacteria in the mouth.
* S, Routh & Pai, Mithun & Rajesh, G & MDS, Shenoy R. (2018). EFFECT OF LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS AND STREPTOCOCCUS SALIVARIUS ON GROWTH OF PERIODONTAL PATHOGENS – AN IN-VITRO STUDY. International Journal of Advanced Research. 6. 607-612. 10.21474/IJAR01/7073.