Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Saliva as the sole nutritional source in the development of multispecies communities in dental plaque

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas JakubovicsORCiD


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Dental plaque is a polymicrobial biofilm that forms on the surfaces of teeth and, if inadequately controlled, can lead to dental caries or periodontitis. Nutrient availability is the fundamental limiting factor for the formation of dental plaque, and for its ability to generate acid and erode dental enamel. Nutrient availability is also critical for bacteria to grow in subgingival biofilms and to initiate periodontitis. Over the early stages of dental plaque formation, micro-organisms acquire nutrients by breaking down complex salivary substrates such as mucins and other glycoproteins. Once dental plaque matures, dietary carbohydrates become more important for supragingival dental plaque, and gingival crevicular fluid forms the major nutrient source for subgingival microorganisms. Many species of oral bacteria do not grow in laboratory monocultures when saliva is the sole nutrient source, and it is now clear that intermicrobial interactions are critical for the development of dental plaque. This chapter aims to provide an overview of the key metabolic requirements of some well-characterized oral bacteria, and the nutrient webs that promote the growth of multispecies communities and underpin the pathogenicity of dental plaque for both dental caries and periodontitis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jakubovics NS

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Microbiology Spectrum

Year: 2015

Volume: 3

Issue: 3

Online publication date: 25/06/2015

Acceptance date: 23/12/2014

ISSN (electronic): 2165-0497


DOI: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MBP-0013-2014

PubMed id: 26185065