is a pain in the tooth!"
As previously discussed in the habitat
section, Streptococcus mutans shares a mutualisitic relationship
with many other types of bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Some of
the other species of Streptococcus that S. mutans
shares its habitat with include Streptococcus salivarius,
Streptococcus sangius, Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus fecali,
and Streptococcus sorbrinus. These bacteria can also
initiate the breakdown of tooth enamel, but Streptococcus mutans
is the only bacteria thus far to be the most efficient and
consistent in the breakdown of tooth enamel leading to tooth decay
or dental caries.
Streptococcus mutans has a very large negative effect on humans.
It has a parasitic relationship with humans living in the oral
cavity causing decay of teeth.
S. mutans metabolizes sucrose to produce polysaccharides that
help them cohere to one another forming plaque. The
combination of this plaque and acids released by S. mutans
leads to the breakdown of tooth enamel resulting in dental caries.
A dental cavity is a hole or holes in the outer two layers of a
tooth, the enamel and the dentin.
This is very unfortunate for humans. Dental caries are one of
the most prevalent diseases of man. This disease represents a
major problem in the U.S. today. Over two billion dollars are
spent each year for treatment of this disease. Once this
disease is established it requires treatment. This treatment
entails visiting your dentist to get the cavity filled. A
cavity only grows larger and more expensive to repair the longer it
remains untreated. Dental caries are not only a burden to ones
wallet but they are also painful. The longer a cavity remains
untreated not only the larger and more expensive it becomes, but it
will also start to cause pain around the tooth or jaw. The
severity of this pain can range from constant and mild to sharp and
excruciating. Once a cavity is formed it is beneficial to
visit a dentist to get the disease treated. This will prevent
it from growing larger and from causing pain.
Questions or Comments?