Caister Academic Press

Structural Organization of Oral Biofilms in Supra- and Subgingival Environments

Vincent Zijnge, Annette Moter, Frank Abbas and Hermie Harmsen
from: Oral Microbial Ecology: Current Research and New Perspectives (Edited by: Nicholas S. Jakubovics and Robert J. Palmer Jr.). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2013)


The more we learn about the oral microbiota, the more we have to accept its high degree of complexity and diversity. The composition of the oral microbial community depends on a number of patient-specific factors; the immunology and genetic background of patient, underlying diseases (chronic or acute, e.g. diabetes, infections), hormone status (e.g. pregnancy), medication (e.g. immunosuppressive therapy or antibiotics) and behaviour of the patient (e.g. nutrition, oral hygiene, smoking habits). It even differs within the oral cavity of a subject due to the ecological niches influenced by different variables such as oxygen level, nutrition, physical stress and saliva flow. All these factors influence the combination and multitude of bacterial species that are finally responsible for maintaining health or causing disease within the oral ecosystem. However, bacteria do not function as isolated entities but live together in complex sessile communities called oral biofilms. The efficiency of oral biofilms depends on coordinated, metabolically integrated, spatially organized networks. Therefore, it is crucial to understand these highly dynamic communities and to observe and analyze their composition and architecture. In this chapter we first discuss the methodology used in oral biofilm structure research and subsequently discuss the current status of the research as well as our concept of supra- and subgingival biofilm organization read more ...
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