What Is the Difference Between Good Bacteria & Bad Bacteria?


When you think of bacteria you probably also think of germs, illness and disease. The thought of having bacteria in and on your body is likely to make you impulsive about washing and sterilizing your body. If so, you are not alone. Many people impulsively use hand sanitizer and strong detergents to clean their homes. At the first sign of illness, antibiotics are taken to kill the bacteria and germs. Studies have found that we have been working too hard to kill bacteria.


Our bodies are dependent upon bacteria. For a healthy body and digestive systems, it is important for 85 percent of the bacteria in our bodies to be good and the other 15 percent to be bad bacteria. When this balance is disturbed, we become ill and are prone to experience allergies. The balance of good and bad bacteria are likely to become unbalance when we take too many antibiotics, use too much antibacterial soap, or are under stress. To increase good bacteria and to put the body back in balance, many people consume good bacteria in the form of Lactobacillus acidophilus (found in yogurt) and other nutritional supplements.

Good Bacteria

Good bacteria is any bacteria that is beneficial to the body and enhances health. Good bacteria falls under a couple of categories. We have good bacteria that protects our skin, keeping germs and bad bacteria out. We also have good bacteria that protects our immune system. These good bacteria combat harmful bacteria and can live on the skin, in the mouth, stomach and intestines.


Commensals are a type of good bacteria that live on the surfaces of the body. Because both the bacteria and the person benefit from each other, they are considered to be commensal. This means the person and the bacteria live closely together but are not interdependent. These good bacteria are provided with food and warmth from our body, and they compete with unhealthy bacteria, which keeps the bad bacteria in check and protects us from disease.


Symbionts are a type of good bacteria that is completely dependent on us for survival. We are also completely dependent on these bacteria. Without the help of this bacteria that combats bad bacteria, we would surely get sick more often. Without our bodies to host them, bacteria would die as well. The best example of such a relationship is the bacteria that infests squid which serves the function of glowing in the dark.

Bad Bacteria

Bad bacteria is bacteria that makes us ill or kills us. This bad bacteria can attack the body's cells or produce toxins that sicken us. When this bad bacteria multiples, it can win the battle between good and bad bacteria, and cause disease and infection. Bad bacteria usually originates from a point outside the body. Some bacteria are ingested. Others are contracted through the air or enter the body through the skin.

Dangerous Bacteria

While some bacteria are bad, others are downright dangerous. They overwhelm the system almost immediately and make the hosts violently ill. These bad bacteria can cause diseases such an Cholera, Leprosy, lime disease, Q fever, anthrax, staph and more.

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