Selenomonas Sputigena Bacterium Could Be Responsible For Tooth Decay, Study Shows

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Recent research has identified a previously unrecognized bacterium, Selenomonas sputigena, which may play a role in tooth decay alongside the well-known Streptococcus mutans. Traditionally, cavities have been linked to Streptococcus mutans, but this study sheds light on the multifaceted nature of dental decay and introduces possibilities for novel cavity prevention methods.

Selenomonas sputigena interacts with Streptococcus mutans to cause tooth decay

A collaborative study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the University of North Carolina is challenging the traditional belief that S. mutans is solely responsible for tooth decay. The study reveals that Selenomonas sputigena, typically responsible for gum disease, can actually amplify the cavity-causing abilities of S. mutans. This unexpected partnership between the two bacterial species emphasizes the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of tooth decay development and identifying potential targets for preventing cavities.

In a study involving over 400 children aged three to five, researchers investigated the role of S. sputigena in tooth decay. They found that although S. sputigena alone does not cause cavities, it can collaborate with S. mutans, intensifying the decay process. S. sputigena becomes trapped by S. mutans’ sticky structures, leading to rapid growth and the formation of protective “superstructures” that shield S. mutans. This partnership increases acid production and worsens the severity of cavities. The discovery emphasizes the importance of improving cavity prevention techniques.

Improving tooth and oral hygiene effective in preventing cavities

The research reveals new insights into the complex interactions of microorganisms in the mouth and challenges existing beliefs about the origins of tooth decay. Dr. Hyun (Michel) Koo, a senior author of the study, proposes that disrupting S. sputigena structures or enhancing tooth brushing methods may be effective strategies for preventing cavities.

In a university release Koo stated that the noteworthy occurrence where a bacterium transitions from its original habitat to a new environment, engaging with the resident bacteria and constructing extraordinary superstructures. This intriguing event holds considerable significance for the field of microbiology, captivating the attention of researchers. Researchers plan to study how the anaerobic S. sputigena bacteria ends up in an oxygen-rich environment.

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