Streptococcus mutans

Cavities

By: Lexi Hicok

Description

Streptococcus mutans is a gram positive cocci. It is spherical with a diameter of .5-.75 micrometers and usually found in chains.

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is when a tooth in a human starts to decay. The bacteria, Strepococcus mutans, is found in every human mouth, but does not start doing damage unless not taken care of. If the carier does not have proper oral hygine then the bacteria will slowly start causing the inner and outer areas of a tooth to decay, causing the damage of what we refer to as a cavity.

Spreading of Cavities

Even though the bacteria Streptococcus mutans are located inside everyone's mouths, there are still ways to spread the bacteria. You are more likely to get it if someone who has let the bacteria spread in their mouth infects you by sharing drinks, kissing.

What does Streptococcus mutans do?

Streptococcus mutans is built up by humans not taking good care of their teeth. If we do not brush and floss, Streptococcus mutans will start building up over time, while feeding of off sugars and acids left over in your mouth. This causes about 95% of people to have some type of tooth decay by age 40. If not caught in time, Streptococcus mutans can cause a very high damage rate too teeth, or if caught before serious damage is done, it can have a fairly minor damage to teeth, making the damage rate anywhere from 60-100% damage on a tooth.

Minor Cavities

If someone is lucky enough to catch a cavity before it kills of a tooth, little damage is done, thus creating a simple fix. The cavity will start causing the tooth to decay, and will cause it to start decaying and forming a hole in the tooth. In order to fix it, a dentist will removed the decayed section by drilling a hole in the tooth, and fill it with a filling.
A filling is made of silver, gold, or porcelain, put into the drilled tooth to fill up the hole.

Major Cavities

If a person does not catch Streptococcus mutans in time, then major results are likely to happen. If there is limited tooth still remaining, then a dentist will do the same procedure as they would for a minor cavity, but drill our more, and put a crown over the tooth. If the cavity has completely killed of the center of the tooth, including it's roots and nerves, the whole center of the tooth is removed, covered by a crown.