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Streptococcus mutans

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A gram-positive spherical and facultative bacterium that normally present in oral cavity associated with tooth decay in humans.


Streptococcus mutans is mesophilic that can grows at temperature ranging from18-40’C and known as cariogenic microorganism that breakdown sugar for energy that generates an acidic environment which demineralizes the surface structure of the tooth disintegrating the tooth coating and dissolves calcium molecules creating hole.

Streptococcus mutans colonizes oral cavity despite the tremendous changes in the environmental conditions since it able to evolved with other members altering specific functions to survive in the oral cavity wherein it able to change its nutrition-limiting conditions to protect itself from extreme harsh environment. It is a specialized bacterium outfitted with receptors that permits attachment to the surface of the tooth making a slimy environment and producing micro-colonies to build a biofilm.

Streptococcus mutans is implicated in dental caries an infectious and communicable disease that affects human of all ages which possesses virulence factor including acid tolerance, water insoluble glycans and production of lactic acid where infants and children most vulnerable to infections. Its dental infections can caused foul tastes, bad breath and gum disease wherein severe state can spread to soft tissue from the tooth that leads to life threatening complications such as Ludwig’s angina and cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Bacteria

Phylum: Firmicutes

Class: Bacilli

Order: Lactobacillales

Family: Streptococcaceae

Genus: Streptococcus

Species: Streptococcus mutans

See also:

• Bacteria

• Dental caries