The ecology of Staphylococcus species in the oral cavity

Smith, A.J., Jackson, M.S. and Bagg, J. (2001) The ecology of Staphylococcus species in the oral cavity. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 50(11), 940 -946.

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Whilst the diversity of organisms present in the oral cavity is well accepted, there remains considerable controversy as to whether Staphylococcus spp. play a role in the ecology of the normal oral flora. Surprisingly little detailed work has been performed on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of colonisation or infection either by coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) or S. aureus. The latter is especially interesting in the light of present difficulties in eradicating carriage of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) from the oropharynx in affected individuals. This paper reviews the current knowledge of staphylococcal colonisation and infection of the oral cavity in health and disease. S. aureus has been isolated from a wide range of infective oral conditions, such as angular cheilitis and parotitis. More recently, a clinical condition classified as staphylococcal mucositis has emerged as a clinical problem in many debilitated elderly patients and those with oral Crohn's disease. Higher carriage rates of both CNS or S. aureus, or both, in patients prone to joint infections raises the interesting possibility of the oral cavity serving as a potential source for bacteraemic spread to compromised joint spaces. In conclusion, there is a surprising paucity of knowledge regarding the role of oral staphylococci in both health and disease. Further work in this area may lead to benefits, such as improved decolonisation regimens for eradication of MRSA and acknowledgement of the mouth as a source of bacteraemic staphylococci.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bagg, Professor Jeremy
Authors: Smith, A.J., Jackson, M.S., and Bagg, J.
Subjects:R Medicine > RK Dentistry
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:Journal of Medical Microbiology

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