Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 50, Issue 5–6, pp 789–798 | Cite as

Pathogenic synergy: mixed infections in the oral cavity

  • T. J. M. van Steenbergen
  • A. J. van Winkelhoff
  • J. de Graaff
Oral Microbiology


In almost all infections in the oral cavity, mixed populations of bacteria are present. However, recent evidence points to a certain specificity in these infections:Streptococcus mutans is related to caries and black-pigmentedBacteroides species are suspected pathogens in periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases, endodontic infections and submucous abscesses in the oral cavity are probably mixed infections in which anaerobic bacteria together with facultatives or other anaerobes are present. In experimental mixed anaerobic infections black-pigmentedBacteroides strains have been shown to play a key role. Little is known about the pathogenic synergy between the bacteria involved in mixed infections. Important mechanisms could be nutritional interrelationships and interactions with the host defense. Within the group of black-pigmentedBacteroides B. gingivalis seems to be the most virulent species. These bacteria possess a great number of virulence factors, which might be important in the pathogenesis of oral infections.


Virulence Factor Periodontal Disease Host Defense Oral Cavity Anaerobic Bacterium 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. M. van Steenbergen
    • 1
  • A. J. van Winkelhoff
    • 1
  • J. de Graaff
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group for Commensal Infections, Departments of Oral and Medical Microbiology, Schools of Dentistry and MedicineVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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