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Dental plaque

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Oral Microbiology

Part of the book series: Aspects of Microbiology ((volume 1))


Dental plaque is a general term for the complex microbial community found on the tooth surface, embedded in a matrix of polymers of bacterial and salivary origin. Plaque that becomes calcified is referred to as calculus or tartar. The presence of plaque in the mouth can be demonstrated readily by rinsing with a disclosing solution such as erythrosin. The majority of plaque is found associated with the protected and stagnant regions of the tooth surface such as fissures, approximal regions and the gingival crevice (Figure 2.2).

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Further Reading

  • Bowden, G. H., Hardie, J. M. and Slack, G. L. (1975) Microbial vari-ations in approximal dental plaque. Caries Research, 9, 253–77.

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  • Kolenbrander, P. E. (1988) Intergeneric coaggregation among human oral bacteria and ecology of dental plaque. Annual Reviews of Microbiology, 42, 627–56.

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  • Liljemark, W. F., Fenner, L. J. and Bloomquist, C. G. (1986) In vivo colonization of salivary pellicle by Haemophilus, Actinomyces and Streptococcus species. Caries Research, 20, 481–97.

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  • Marsh, P. D. (1989) Host defences and microbial homeostasis: Role of microbial interactions. Journal of Dental Research, 68, 1567–75.

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  • Mergenhagen, S. E. and Rosan, B. (eds.) (1985) Molecular Basis of Oral Microbial Adhesion. American Society for Microbiology, Washington DC.

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  • Nyvad, B. and Kilian, M. (1987) Microbiology of the early colonization of human enamel and root surfaces in vivo. Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research, 95, 369–80.

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  • Slots, J. (1977) Microflora of the healthy gingival sulcus in man. Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research, 85, 247–54.

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  • Theilade, E., Budtz-Jorgensen, E. and Theilade, J. (1983) Predominant cultivable microflora of plaque on removable dentures in patients with healthy oral mucosa. Archives of Oral Biology, 28, 675–80.

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© 1992 P.D. Marsh and M.V. Martin

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Marsh, P., Martin, M. (1992). Dental plaque. In: Oral Microbiology. Aspects of Microbiology, vol 1. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4615-7558-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4615-7556-6

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