Bad Boys of Bacteria Resist Oral Treatments

They are bad to the bone—or, more accurately, to the genes. Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry have isolated certain genetic strains of bacteria that are dominant a year after treatment in children with microbial-caused plaque.

Additionally, they identified six previously undetected minor strains and certain bacteria that resist xylitol, a popular plaque and bacteria deterrent, in children.

The study published online in the December 2012 Journal of Oral Microbiology, was a follow-up to previous OHSU published studies in which dental school researchers identified 39 mutans streptococci strains from pediatric patients undergoing full-mouth dental rehabilitation, including the removal and/or repair of carious lesions and application of antimicrobial rinse and fluoride varnish.

The follow-up OHSU study focused on genotypic strains of mutans streptococci in children from the earlier studies with severe early childhood caries. The children were in good health, 3 to 5 years old and had undergone full-mouth dental rehabilitation therapy under general anesthesia. The researchers collected plaque samples from the children at the one-year visit following the full mouth dental rehabilitation therapy. The samples were compared to others previously collected from the children at intervals prior to the dental rehabilitation therapy, two to four weeks after rehabilitation and six months after rehabilitation.

Findings indicated that specific MS strains were dominant one year following rehabilitation.  Most of the strains were xylitol resistant.

The American Dental Association has resources on preventing cavities in babies and children. For information the ADA's consumer resources site MouthHealthy.org.

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