Understanding the Ecology of the Oral Cavity and its Susceptibility to Disease

Understanding the Ecology of the Oral Cavity and its Susceptibility to Disease

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Understanding the Ecology of the Oral Cavity and its Susceptibility to Disease/Decay through Environmental and Microorganism Analysis Lab T.A.: Stacy Scofield Lionel Sims III Date of Lab: 03/30/08
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Abstract The mammalian oral cavity is one of the most facilitative environments for the spawn and growth of microorganisms. This lab was designed and implemented with the purpose of finding exactly what factors lend to the abundance of these microorganisms and identifying them along with their lifestyles, in order to determine their roles in the presence of oral disease and dental carries (cavities). The mouth is so well-suited to the growth of these organisms because it is constantly an environment that is bathed in the most important life sustaining substances. Such as nutrient rich saliva (containing peptides and amino acids), by-products of epithelial cells lining the cavity, oxygen, as well as nutrients from food eaten by the host. Not to mention the warm, moist climate constantly contained in the mouth. The oral cavity also has a large number of microhabitats because of its complex structure. On, between teeth, along, and below the gum line all have different environmental factors that affect what type of organisms flourish there. For instance aerobes may be on the teeth and along other sections of the cavity (which might be why they are the most abundant in the mouth), whereas facultative anaerobes (doesn’t necessarily need oxygen, could use fermentation for energy production) may live along the gum line or between certain teeth, and obligate anaerobes would live in between other teeth or below the gum line, or deep within a dense network of dental plaque. Dental plaque is a by-product and well appointed medium of microorganism incubation. This deposit of organic matter may contain as many as 100 billion bacteria per gram (Hardy, Campbell, and Plescia 2008). It is also the target of many dental
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hygiene practices and regarded as the culprit responsible for dental carries and tooth decay, when in fact it is the bacteria that produces and lives in the plaque that can cause serious damage to the teeth. The bacteria are one of three main factors affecting a host’s susceptibility to these dental issues. Bacteria are analyzed and classified by a number of means. One of the most important ones is the gram stain. It is a very quick and cheap way to classify bacteria and determine many different things about its biology. A gram stain is a microscopy procedure in which a slide is prepared with a sample of bacteria in which a purple dye is added and introduced into the cytoplasm of the bacterial cells. The after a complex is formed with the dye, the cells are washed with ethanol which rinses the dye from some of the cells but not most of them. Then a reddish dye is added to stain the remaining cells. The cells that remain purple are known as gram positive and are characterized by their thicker cell walls that do not allow the purple dye complex to leave once it enters.
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This lab report was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course BIO G 106 taught by Professor Campbell,d. during the Spring '07 term at Cornell.

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Understanding the Ecology of the Oral Cavity and its Susceptibility to Disease

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