What Happens When the Microbes in Your Mouth Get Out of Balance?

You have a huge amount of bacteria in your mouth. A healthy mouth has a balance between the microbes, preventing an imbalance that could cause harmful conditions in the body. Things like smoking, taking antibiotics, or neglecting your oral hygiene can cause those microbial communities to lose their balance, and numerous issues can arise.

Portrait of surprised beautiful 20s girl covering her mouth for bad breath or out of balance microbiome


Cavities can occur if there is an imbalance in the biofilm, which is the layer of bacteria and other microbes on your teeth. A balanced biofilm will protect your teeth, while one that is out of balance can allow harmful bacteria to flourish.

Your mouth’s pH levels are crucial. Having a very acidic pH allows harmful bacteria to grow uncontrolled, leading to cavities.

The more harmful bacteria you have, the more acids they produce. They feed off of the carbohydrates you eat and produce acids that harm your teeth’s enamel. Cavities can then easily form. Cavities, in turn, cause even more of a disruption to the microbe levels in your mouth, becoming a cycle that can be difficult to break without crucial oral health changes.

Gum Disease

If you have an imbalance of certain microbes in your mouth, you can end up with gum disease.

Harmful bacteria come from the acids that harm enamel, and they can cause plaque formation. Plaque is when acids mix with food particles and saliva, creating a film of bacteria that coats your teeth. Plaque that is not removed becomes tartar, which causes your gums to become swollen and even bleed.

Bad Breath

Although everyone experiences bad breath at some point, dealing with this issue often can indicate an imbalance in your oral microbes.

If you don’t follow a consistent oral hygiene routine, if you took antibiotics recently, or if you smoke, you have likely changed the pH balance in your mouth. A more acidic environment allows harmful bacteria to grow, leading not only to bad breath but also to the development of cavities and other oral health issues, all of which can worsen bad breath issues.

The bacteria that tends to cause bad breath is a sulfur-producing type. When there are too many of them and other bacteria do not balance them out, they can start breaking proteins down very rapidly. This leads to the release of sulfur compounds that create an unpleasant odor.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a yeast infection that affects your mouth.

The yeast that causes oral thrush (candida) is present in your body, but usually, it is balanced out by other microbes. Beneficial bacteria can prevent it from multiplying and overwhelming your system.

If there is any imbalance, the candida yeast begins to multiply without anything to keep it in check, leading to a yeast infection. It can happen anywhere in your body, but when it occurs in your mouth or throat, it is oral thrush. It is most common in children and older adults, but it can happen to anyone who doesn’t have a balanced microbiome.

Maintain Your Oral Microbiome with Experienced Care from Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry

Maintaining a healthy balance in your oral microbiome is crucial to avoid everything from cavities to oral thrush. If you experience bad breath often, are prone to developing cavities, or your gums bleed despite regular brushing and flossing, you may have a bacteria imbalance in your mouth. What’s the next step? Reach out to a professional for help.

Dr. Nisha Kalra offers lifestyle dentistry at Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry in Berkeley, CA. She prioritizes the mouth-body connection and evaluates various lifestyle factors to evaluate patients beyond surface symptoms. Through this approach, she develops custom treatment plans for every patient.

Understanding where the problem is and how you can make changes to impact your microbiome can help you regain balanced microbes and prevent serious oral health issues. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.

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