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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Dec 1;193(1):1-6.

Alkali production by oral bacteria and protection against dental caries.

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Center for Oral Biology and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Box 611, 601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


pH is a key environmental factor affecting the physiology, ecology and pathogenicity of the oral biofilms colonizing the hard tissues of the human mouth. Much attention has been focused on the production of organic acids through the metabolism of carbohydrates by pathogenic oral bacteria. Now, evidence is emerging that alkali generation, particularly through ammonia production from arginine and urea, plays major roles in pH homeostasis in oral biofilms and may moderate initiation and progression of dental caries. This short review highlights recent progress on understanding molecular genetic and physiologic aspects of ammonia generation by prominent oral bacteria.

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