Streptococci in the mouth cause tooth decay and heart disease

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When I started grad school in the early 70’s, one of the hot new topics was Streptococcus mutans and its relationship to oral problems (cavities, infections, etc.). This gram positive microbe converts sugars (found in almost everything we eat) to lactic acid; it also uses sucrose to produce a biofilm that surrounds it, protecting it from outside interference (in dental parlance, this is called plaque).  The combination of plaque and lactic acid formation is the driving force in dental decay.

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