Adherence of the Oral Flora
The oral cavity has several unique features which has made it a useful model for studying the association of bacteria with host tissues. The adhesion of bacteria to teeth and to other surfaces of the mouth has been the subject of several reviews. This chapter focuses on some of the principles which have evolved from these studies which appear to be applicable to hostparasite relationships occurring throughout the gastrointestinal canal. It describes examples of novel bacterial adherent interactions which may be relevant to intestinal environments. Interest in the attachment of bacteria to surfaces of the mouth developed because of the microbial accumulations which form on the teeth. The role of extracellular polymers in promoting bacterial accumulation has been especially well studied with Streptococcus mutans. In the mouth, unattached bacteria are suspended in saliva and the organisms are therefore in contact with salivary macromolecules which are similar or identical to the salivary components comprising the acquired pellicle.