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Recent advances in dental biofilm: impacts of microbial interactions on the biofilm ecology and pathogenesis

1 Department of Applied Oral Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
3 Shenzhen Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital, Shenzhen, China

Topical Section: Biofilm engineering

The human oral cavity is a complex ecosystem harboring hundreds species of microbes that are largely living on the tooth surfaces as dental biofilms. Most microbes in dental biofilms promote oral health by stimulating the immune system or by preventing invasion of pathogens. Species diversity, high cell density and close proximity of cells are typical of life in dental biofilms, where microbes interact with each other and develop complex interactions that can be either competitive or cooperative. Competition between species is a well-recognized ecological force to drive microbial metabolism, species diversity and evolution. However, it was not until recently that microbial cooperative activities are also recognized to play important roles in microbial physiology and ecology. Importantly, these interactions profoundly affect the overall biomass, function, diversity and the pathogenesis in dental biofilms. It is now recognized that every human body contains a personalized oral microbiome that is essential to maintaining the oral health. Remarkably, the indigenous species in dental biofilms often maintain a relatively stable and harmless relationship with the host, despite regular exposure to environmental perturbations and the host defense factors. Such stability or homeostasis results from a dynamic balance of microbial-microbial and microbial-host interactions. Under certain circumstances, however, the homeostasis may breakdown, predisposing a site to diseases. In this review, we describe several examples of microbial interactions and their impacts on the homeostasis and pathogenesis of dental biofilms. We hope to encourage research on microbial interactions in the regulation of the homeostasis in biofilms.
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Keywords biofilms; microbial interactions; homeostasis; microbiome; pathogenesis; community-based diseases

Citation: Yung-Hua Li, Xingxing Huang, Xiao-Lin Tian. Recent advances in dental biofilm: impacts of microbial interactions on the biofilm ecology and pathogenesis. AIMS Bioengineering, 2017, 4(3): 335-350. doi: 10.3934/bioeng.2017.3.335


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Copyright Info: 2017, Yung-Hua Li, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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