The influence of saliva on interbacterial adherence

R. J. Skopek, William F Liljemark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The mechanism of bacterial adherence to the mat of bacteria in preformed dental plaque is not well defined. This study measured the influence of saliva on the adherence of bacteria in suspension to a continuous bacterial surface in vitro. Twenty different pairs of bacteria were tested, consisting of Streptococcus spp., Huenwphilus spp. and Actinomyces spp. The species were chosen based on the parameters of coaggregation. and salivary agglutination. The results were expressed as bacteria that adhered per mm2 of bacterial surface. When both the surface bacteria and the bacteria in suspension agglutinated in saliva, interbacterial adherence was increased 2.5‐fold when a salivary coating was placed on the surface. When one or both of the bacteria did not agglutinate in saliva, interbacterial adherence was increased only slightly when the surface was saliva‐coated. The results suggested that salivary‐mediated adherence is significant to plaque formation once the tooth surface becomes covered with bacteria. Thus bacteria that are capable of agglutinating in saliva may have a distinct advantage in colonization of the plaque surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalOral Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1994


  • Actinomyces viscosus
  • Haemophilus parainfluenzae
  • Streptococcus gordonii
  • Streptococcus oralis
  • Streptococcus salivarius
  • bacterial pellicle
  • interbacterial adherence
  • saliva


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