|MadSci Network: Microbiology|
As you know, there are many different types of bacteria in your mouth at
all times. These are called normal flora. Some examples of normal flora in
your mouth are Streptococcus salivarious, Streptococcus mutans, and
Actinomyces. Different types of bacteria can grow in numerous
ways. Some require oxygen (aerobic) and some will not grow when oxygen is
present (anaerobic). The bacterium Streptococcus salivarious does
require oxygen to grow and it receives it nutriets from many of the things
we eat everyday. A example of an bacteria that is anaerobic is
Actinomyces and it probably hangs out between the teeth where oxygen
has a much harder time getting to.
The other organism I mentioned was Streptococcus mutans. This
organism is the cause of tooth decay and cavities. When you eat a lot of
sugar this bug becomes very happy. It uses the surgar for growth and
produces lots of acids that can destroy the tooth enamel. It just so
happens that some of the acids it produces are used by Streptococcus
salivarious to grow! Isn't that cool?
I don't have any books on me now that would have more information, but if
you look in any introductory medical microbiology textbook you will find
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Microbiology.