Oral Commensal Streptococci: Gatekeepers of the Oral Cavity

Academic Article


  • Oral commensal streptococci are primary colonizers of the oral cavity. These streptococci produce many adhesins, metabolites, and antimicrobials that modulate microbial succession and diversity within the oral cavity. Often, oral commensal streptococci antagonize cariogenic and periodontal pathogens such as Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, respectively. Mechanisms of antagonism are varied and range from the generation of hydrogen peroxide, competitive metabolite scavenging, the generation of reactive nitrogen intermediates, and bacteriocin production. Furthermore, several oral commensal streptococci have been shown to alter the host immune response at steady state and in response to oral pathogens. Collectively, these features highlight the remarkable ability of oral commensal streptococci to regulate the structure and function of the oral microbiome. In this review, we discuss mechanisms used by oral commensal streptococci to interact with diverse oral pathogens, both physically and through the production of antimicrobials. Finally, we conclude by exploring the critical roles of oral commensal streptococci in modulating the host immune response and maintaining health and homeostasis.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 18808385
  • Author List

  • Baty JJ; Stoner SN; Scoffield JA
  • Volume

  • 204
  • Issue

  • 11