Researchers recently found that Streptococcus salivarius, one of the microbes in our mouth, can help fight the buildup of plaque on our teeth. It does so by producing the enzyme FruA, which breaks down carbohydrates in our mouth more efficiently than can the bacteria that form plaque biofilms. Thus, the plaque-forming bacteria are robbed of their nutrients.
I'll bet S. salivarius will become popular as an oral probiotic. And its discovery may help us find better ways to manage our mouth's ecosystem to promote good health.
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Inhibition of Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Formation by Streptococcus salivarius FruA
A. Ogawa, et al.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology Vol. 77, March 2011, p. 1572 doi:10.1128/AEM.02066-10, published online January 14, 2011
[Original research article]
Bacterial fight dental plaque
Tina Hesman Saey
Science News Published online April 1, 2011
[Brief summary of the discovery]