Microbiology of dental plaque biofilms and their role in oral health and caries

Phillip Marsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

201 Citations (Scopus)


Dental plaque is the biofilm found naturally on teeth. Dental plaque is also implicated in dental caries, which is associated with shifts in the microbial balance of the biofilm resulting in increased proportions of acid producing and acid tolerating bacteria, especially (but not exclusively) mutans streptococci and lactobacilli. The regular intake of fermentable dietary sugars, or impaired saliva flow, produces persistent conditions of low pH within the biofilm, which selects for these cariogenic bacteria. Clinicians should prevent this disruption to the natural microbial balance of the biofilm (relevant approaches are described) rather than merely treating its consequences by restoring cavities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
JournalDental clinics of North America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Biofilm
  • Dental caries
  • Dental plaque
  • Ecology
  • Interventions
  • PH


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