by Maria Avila, David M Ojcius, Ozlem Yilmaz.
The oral cavity of healthy individuals contains hundreds of different bacterial, viral, and fungal species. Many of these can associate to form biofilms, which are resistant to mechanical stress or antibiotic treatment. Most are also commensal species, but they can become pathogenic in responses to changes in the environment or other triggers in the oral cavity, including the quality of an individual's personal hygiene. The complexity of the oral microbiome is being characterized through the newly developed tools of metagenomics. How the microbiome of the oral cavity contributes to health and disease is attracting the interest of a growing number of cell biologists, microbiologists, and immunologists.
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