Image of Artists Conception-There Are Billions Of Bacteria In Your Mouth

There Are Billions Of Bacteria In Your Mouth
image courtesy Craig Sommer DDS

Where Are My Billions Of Bacteria Hiding?

How can you tell where they are hiding? There are clues that any good detective will notice:

• Swollen gum tissue with severe color differences where your gums meet your teeth.

• Gum bleeding easily visible after you brush and or floss your teeth.

• Sticky yellow plaque, on the sides of your teeth and in between after brushing, flossing or irrigating.

That’s bacterial leftovers from your previous day’s teeth and gum cleaning efforts feasting on the leftovers from your last meal.

Dental plaque is multiple bacteria colonies, stuck to your teeth, growing on bits of food. Simple as that. Bacteria are happy to grow, raise families, build homes, and live in relative comfort on the sides of your teeth, in between, where your gums meet your teeth and on the back of your tongue, unless you make efforts to remove them. They love the warm, dark, moist environment. You’ve got to clean up your neighborhood and chase them out!


Image of Plaque On Teeth With Gingivitis- Swollen Red Gums

Plaque On Teeth With Gingivitis- Swollen Red Gums
Courtesy of Craig Sommer DDS at

How Many Bacteria Are Really Living In My Mouth?

I said billions earlier, and even that seems unbelievable.  But some estimates claim there are as many as 14 trillion bacteria thriving in the average person’s mouth. That’s 14 with twelve zeros after it (14,000,000,000,000). Fourteen million million.

I don’t know where you stand, but that’s a serious number of bacteria. Think about our earth’s population being close to 7 billion people.  Our national debt near $20 trillion.

Now when you wash your body with soap and rinse it off you still have nearly 20 million bacteria hanging on every square inch of your skin. That’s about 100 billion bacteria, give or take a few, before you towel off. The toweling off, the physical rubbing, removes much more bacteria than you could imagine. That’s why surgeons “scrub-in” for surgeries using brushes and soaps.


What About Saliva Or Spit?

Yes! Oodles of bacteria are in your saliva. They are swimming up a storm in every drop, with each teaspoon of saliva harboring anywhere from 500 million to 25 billion bacteria. That’s billion with a “B”.


What About Plaque?

That’s the sticky stuff made up of bacterial feeding on the food leftovers after a meal.  A cubic millimeter of plaque (a cube the thickness of a dime on all sides, and about what would easily fit on the head of a pin) contains about 5 billion bacteria. That is what irritates gum tissue, leads to cavities, destroys bone, loosens teeth and puts your whole body at risk for stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease and elevated cancer risk.


It’s The Bacteria (Bugs or Germs) That Cause Bleeding And Swelling In Your Gums.

Bleeding is the first indicator that you have serious problems going on. When “doorways” in capillaries bust open and begin letting red blood cells out, you can, recognize what is happening. You’ll see red.

And when the doorways are open wide enough to let the relatively large red blood cells out, bacteria, that are only one sixth of the size of the red blood cells swim the opposite direction. They are like salmon, fighting to get upstream, into the capillaries to breed. And from there, they swim merrily throughout all of your blood vessels spreading havoc to the rest of your body.

Some bacteria are so aggressive they literally drill themselves into the gum tissue cells and capillary (tiny blood vessel) wall cells. That kills the cells and increases the deadly inflammation process. As this destructive process is occurring, gum tissue is dying and rotting. And like any dead animal tissue, it stinks due to VSC’s (volatile sulfur compounds) and others! The dying gum tissue is responsible for the rotten egg odor of advanced gum disease, you might notice, when you are having a conversation with your boss, a store clerk or bank teller for example.


Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It, Is To Destroy Destructive Bacteria Safely.

Find the bad bacteria, remove them from their homes and neighborhoods and don’t let them return. Starve the little beggars. Reduce the effects of their polluting wastes. Disrupt their efforts to rebuild their towns and cities. Take their weapons and eliminate the remainder. Then reinforce gum tissue defenses so they are blocked from ever returning.

It is literally a life and death issue. Not sexy, not high profile, no paparazzi present. But still deadly serious when you consider how missing teeth, and diseased gums can affect your social life, job interviews, self esteem and physical health.

Let’s continue on our way together to make today the first of many, moving in the right direction for your overall health and wellbeing.