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Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 1994;5(3-4):203-48.

Saliva-bacterium interactions in oral microbial ecology.

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Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo 14214, USA.


Saliva is thought to have a significant impact on the colonization of microorganisms in the oral cavity. Salivary components may participate in this process by one of four general mechanisms: binding to microorganisms to facilitate their clearance from the oral cavity, serving as receptors in oral pellicles for microbial adhesion to host surfaces, inhibiting microbial growth or mediating microbial killing, and serving as microbial nutritional substrates. This article reviews information pertinent to the molecular interaction of salivary components with bacteria (primarily the oral streptococci and Actinomyces) and explores the implications of these interactions for oral bacterial colonization and dental plaque formation. Knowledge of the molecular mechanisms controlling bacterial colonization of the oral cavity may suggest methods to prevent not only dental plaque formation but also serious medical infections that may follow microbial colonization of the oral cavity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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