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Oral microbiota

The microbiota is the set of microorganisms that colonize a given environment, establishing relationships between them, leading to a dynamic equilibrium between all of them, ensuring that this environment remains practically constant in the absence of external factors. The autochthonous microbiota are the microorganisms that stably colonize an epidermal surface or cavity of the organism. They carry out a “life in common” between the various microbiota and with the host (symbiosis), generally benefiting from this association (commensalism). The oropharynx is populated by an extraordinarily abundant community: between 10 and 100 million microorganisms/ml, among which there are amoebae, archaea, bacteria and fungi

  • Amoebae: Entamoeba gingivalis.
  • Bacteria: Gram+: Streptococcus, Actinomyces, Lactobacillus. Gram- : Neisseria, Haemophilus.
  • Fungi: Candida.

These microorganisms are organized in multi-layered structures, called biofilms, which offer them protection.BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH AUTONOMOUS MICROBIOTS

  • Metabolism: they supply essential nutrients that we cannot synthesize, such as vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids.
  • Protection against infections: “microbial antagonism”, which is the ability to prevent the settlement of foreign, potentially pathogenic (harmful) microorganisms. This is achieved by 3 mechanisms:
    1. Interference with colonization: pathogenic microorganisms can only become established when the normal microbiota has been altered (e.g. after treatment with oral antibiotics) or when there is a very large invasion.
    2. Production of antimicrobial compounds: the microbiota generates substances with antibiotic capacity, such as organic acids and hydrogen peroxide, and bacteriocins.
    3. Congregation with pathogens: some members of the microbiota stick to foreign microorganisms, preventing their attachment to the mucosa (so that they cannot penetrate).

FUNCTION OF THE ORAL MICROBIOTA

  1. They are involved in the early stages of food digestion.
  2. They are involved in the defense mechanisms against pathogens.
  3. They are involved in the maintenance of “homeostasis” (self-regulation phenomena that lead to maintaining the internal environment of an organism constant).
  4. They modulate the immune system.

All this contributes to the oral and general well-being of the organism. Dysbiosis or imbalance of the microbiota is related to

  • Caries and periodontal diseases (gingivitis).
  • It has been linked to systemic diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.
  • It has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Oral diseases can be prevented and treated with

  • Oralprobiotics: these are supplements containing live microorganisms intended to maintain the good bacteria in the body. Thus, we have different types of Lactobacillus.
  • Oralprebiotics: these are foods that act as nutrients for the human microbiota. For example, xylitol, urea, arginine, resveratrol, polyphenols and flavonoids (from tea, red wine).

CONCLUSION The oral microbial ecosystem plays an essential role in the maintenance of human health and its imbalance seems to be associated with oral and systemic diseases.