;Caption: Oral bacterium - Streptococcus mutans with surrounding dextran polysaccharide mucilage (glucan). S. mutans is a coccoid shaped, Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic bacterium that is part of the normal bacteria flora of the mouth. It can thrive in temperatures ranging from 18-40 degrees Celsius. It metabolizes sucrose to lactic acid and is a leading cause of tooth enamel decay. The acidic environment created in the mouth by this process is what causes the highly mineralized tooth enamel to decay. S. mutans is one of a few specialized organisms equipped with receptors for adhesion to the surface of teeth. Sucrose is utilized by S. mutans to produce a sticky, extracellular, dextran-based polysaccharide (glucan) that allows them to adhere to each other forming plaque. Other sugars (glucose, fructose, lactose) can be digested by S. mutans to produce lactic acid. It is the combination of plaque and acid that leads to dental / tooth decay.
Magnification*: x4,400
Type: SEM
Copyright 2006 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
Keywords: 07.01.06,acid environment,acidic environment,adhesion receptors,anaerobic,bacteria,bacteria flora,bacterial flora,bacterial pathogen,bacterium,cocci,coccoid,coccus dividing,dental decay,dental plaque,dextran,division,enamel,gamma streptococci,gamma streptococcus,gingivitis,glucan,Gram-positive,Gram bacteria,gram positive,gum disease,human disease,human flora,human infection,human microbiota,human pathogen,lactic acid,minearlized tooth,mouth,mouth abscess,mouth bacteria,oral bacteria,oral bacterium,oral flora,oral lesion,oral microbiota,oral pathogen,peridontal disease,periodontal infection,periodontal lesion ,polysaccharide,prokaryote,SEM,septicemia,streptococci oropharynx,Streptococcus mutans,Streptococcus sobrinus,sucrose metabolism ,throat,tooth decay,tooth enamel,tooth plaque,ulcerative gingivitis,26688C,biofilm