Streptococcus mutans is a type of bacteria that lives in your mouth and feeds on the sugars and proteins in your food. When we do not brush our teeth enough, these bacteria multiply and create a biofilm on our enamel. Over time, food accumulates in the crevices, and the bacteria begin to creep under the gums to the point of irritating them and causing them to bleed. This is the beginning of gingivitis.
Untreated, gingivitis is nothing to laugh about. Any infection triggers the immune system, which sends cells to fight bacteria, which is good; however, over the long run, this can damage tissue and bones. When gingivitis progresses, it turns into periodontitis, which results in the gums detaching from the teeth. Without the structural support from the gums, one or more teeth may loosen and fall out. This happens to 1 in 10 people between the ages of 50 and 64.
Untreated, periodontitis can even release bacteria into the bloodstream and increase the risk of affecting organs, such as the lungs and heart. If brushing and flossing your teeth for 4 minutes every morning and evening can help you prevent all these problems, why not just do it?