INTERESTING: Check these Bacteria you Shared with your Partner While Kissing

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While you can’t see or taste them, your mouth is home to colonies of microbes, including germs like fungus and bacteria. While most of these tiny oral bacteria are harmless—and even helpful—others can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

The oral cavity is comprised of many surfaces, each coated with a plethora of bacteria, the proverbial bacterial biofilm. Surprisingly, little is known about the microflora of the healthy oral cavity.

More than 700 bacterial species of which over 50% have not been cultivated, have been detected in the oral cavity. They represent six different bacterial phyla including the Firmicutes (Gram+ species of Streptococcus, Gemella, Eubacterium, Selenomonas, Veillonella, and related ones). 

The oral sites they reside on are the tongue, buccal epithelium, hard palate, soft palate, supragingival plaque of tooth surfaces, subgingival plaque, maxillary anterior vestibule, and tonsils. Most sites possess 20 to 30 different predominant species, and the number of predominant species from all sites per individual range from 34 to 72. There is a distinctive predominant bacterial flora of the healthy oral cavity that is highly diverse and site and subject specific.

Some of these bacteria have been implicated in oral diseases such as caries and periodontitis, which are among the most common bacterial infections in humans

Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria you've probably heard the most about. It lives in your mouth, specifically on tooth surfaces and difficult to clean areas like pits and fissures on the teeth, and feeds on the sugars and starches you eat, leading to the formation of cavities. That’s because it produces enamel-eroding acids and thrives in a low pH.

It’s a fact of life that bacteria live in your mouth and will naturally grow due to our need to eat and drink. As long as you don't kiss someone with a viral respiratory infection, HIV or periodontitis, you should be okay.

Source: Quora
Credit: Robert Devor

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