Amy TamFollow

Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Medicine

First Committee Member

Karl Kingsley

Second Committee Member

Brian Chrzan

Third Committee Member

Tanya Al-Talib

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Number of Pages



The formation of dental caries (cavities) is a complex, multi-dimensional process that necessarily involves many risk factors – including the acquisition and colonization of cariogenic oral bacteria. The most frequently associated oral pathogens are the acid-producing and acid-tolerant oral streptococcus species, such as Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans or SM). Many studies have established and confirmed the critical role of the formation of biofilm in the virulence of S. mutans, and the critical role this may play in determining the balance of the oral microbiome towards health or disease.

More recent efforts have discovered a novel cariogenic pathogen, Scardovia wiggsiae (S. wiggsiae or SW) among the oral bacteria of children with severe early childhood caries. This pathogen has also been confirmed among the oral microbiota among patients with increased caries risk, such as orthodontic patients. Despite these efforts, much remains unknown about the prevalence of this organism and the potential interactions with other cariogenic bacteria that might influence oral health or disease.

Studies from this group have surveyed the prevalence of oral microbial pathogens, such as S. mutans among pediatric and orthodontic populations. In addition, pilot studies to evaluate the presence of S. wiggsiae among this patient population have also emerged. However, to date few (if any) of these studies have performed simultaneous screenings of other organisms, such as S. mutans and S. wiggsiae to determine if the presence of either organism might be associated with differences in the prevalence of the other. The primary goal of this study was to determine the types of oral microbial associations that may exist among S. wiggsiae-positive and -negative patient samples.


microbial prevalence; saliva screening; Scardovia wiggsiae; Selenomonas Noxia; Streptococcus mutans


Biology | Dentistry

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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