Bacteria play a crucial role in oral infections, with various species being implicated in different conditions. This section will discuss the most common bacterial infections encountered during dental procedures and their impact on oral health.
Streptococcus mutans: dental caries
Streptococcus mutans is the main cause of tooth decay, also known as dental caries. Millions of people worldwide suffer from tooth decay. The Streptococcus mutans bacteria thrives on sugars found in food particles left on
Porphyromonas gingivalis – periodontal disease:
Other bacteria causing dental infections
- Actinomyces spp: This group of bacteria has been linked to root canal infections and the formation of dental abscesses. Actinomyces israelii or Actinomyces gerencseriae are responsible for causing most infections and live between the teeth and gums. The infection they cause is known as actinomycosis. An actinomycosis infection can lead to large abscesses in the mouth that can spread to other parts of the body.
- Prevotella intermedia: This bacterium is often found in periodontal pockets and has been implicated in gum disease progression. Dental healthcare teams should be aware of its presence when treating patients with periodontitis.
- Fusobacterium nucleatum, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia: Fusobacterium nucleatum is a normal part of the human oral flora (group of bacteria and fungi that our body needs for our daily needs). A bacterial imbalance or overgrowth can cause gum disease development and may contribute to more severe cases if not adequately managed through professional cleanings and an at-home oral care routine.
Key Takeaway: Bacterial infections are a significant concern in dentistry, with various species causing different diseases. Streptococcus mutans is the primary cause of dental caries, while Porphyromonas gingivalis can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.
Proper infection control measures during dental procedures and at-home oral care routines can help maintain a healthy environment for teeth, gums, and oral cavities.