Fluoride resistance in Streptococcus mutans: a mini review

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For decades, fluoride has been used extensively as an anti-caries agent. It not only protects dental hard tissue, but also inhibits bacterial growth and metabolism. The antimicrobial action of fluoride is shown in three main aspects: the acidogenicity, acidurance, and adherence to the tooth surface. To counteract the toxic effect of fluoride, oral bacteria are able to develop resistance to fluoride through either phenotypic adaptation or genotypic changes. Strains that acquire fluoride resistance through the latter route show stable resistance and can usually resist much higher fluoride levels than the corresponding wild-type strain. This review summarizes the characteristics of fluoride-resistant strains and explores the mechanisms of fluoride resistance, in particular the recent discovery of the fluoride exporters. Since the fluoride resistance of the cariogenic bacterium Streptococcus mutans has been studied most extensively, this review mainly discusses the findings related to this species.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1344509
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oral Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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