This study will explore how bacteria colonize human teeth and how this process changes over
the lifetime of individuals. It will include an investigation of transmission of bacteria
that initiate colonization between adults and from adults to infants.
Selected NIH scientists and members of their immediate families, including infants, are
eligible for this study. Participants provide a small sample of saliva and a sample of
bacteria collected by rubbing a cotton swab over the surfaces of the lower four incisors.
Adults collect and submit their own specimens; a dentist collects specimens from children.
Interactions between different bacteria play an important role in biofilm development during
primary colonization of the human tooth surface. Well studied examples of such interactions
include the receptor polysaccharide (RPS)-mediated interactions between viridans group
streptococci and other oral bacteria including type 2 fimbriated Actinomyces naeslundii.
Previous studies have resulted in the identification of different structural, antigenic and
molecular types of RPS on the streptococci that initiate colonization of the tooth surface.
This information provides the basis for the current protocol, which addresses a number of
important questions involving the nature of the commensal relationship that exists between
biofilm-forming bacteria and the host. For example: (1) How many types of RPS are produced
by the resident flora of an individual at any one time? (2) Does the resident population of
RPS-producing clones change over the lifetime of the host? (3) Do individuals produce
secretory antibodies against bacterial RPS, and if so, does this drive a change in the
antigenic type of RPS produced? (3) When and how do infants acquire RPS-producing bacteria,
before or after tooth eruption? To address these questions, we wish to collect and analyze
samples of early dental plaque from the members of individual families. The collection of
such samples will be accomplished by gently rubbing exposed tooth surfaces with a sterile
cotton swab. Adult volunteers will also be asked to provide small samples of saliva, which
will be assayed for the presence of specific anti-RPS antibodies. The sampling procedures
proposed in this protocol do not present any significant risk to either adult or infant
volunteers. The information gained from these studies, although not directly beneficial to
these individuals, is expected to provide important insights into the commensal relationship
that exists between biofilm-forming bacteria and the host. This in turn will contribute to
an improved understanding of variables associated with the maintenance of oral health and
the initiation of disease.
- INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION CRITERIA
This is a pilot study with no inclusion or exclusion criteria other than availability.
Participants will include Dr. Yoshida, his wife and their infant son and members of Dr.
Cisar's family including his wife and adult children. Other NIH scientists and their
infant children will also be included. All participants will be asked to sign the
appropriate consent / assent forms.