Surface electrostatics of Bacteroides gingivalis and other oral bacteria were examined. A polarization circuit was employed using platinum electrodes exposed in each bacterial suspension and the number of bacteria adsorbed to the anode and cathode were then estimated. In all bacteria (B. gingivalis, Streptococcus sobrinus, S. mutans, S. sa/ivarius, S. sanguis and Actinomyces viscosus), the number of cells adsorbed to the anode were much greater than the number of cells adsorbed to the cathode. Treating these bacteria with calcium ions tended to decrease the ratio of the number of cells adsorbed to the anode to the number of cells adsorbed to the cathode in all bacteria examined. Moreover, in the case of B. gingivalis, the number of cells adsorbed to the anode and cathode was in an inverse relationship to the number counted before calcium ion treatment. These findings indicate that the cell surfaces of oral bacteria are generally negatively charged but only the cell surface electrostatics of B. gingivalis was dramatically affected by calcium ion treatment. Thus, divalent metal bridges such as calcium bridges contribute to the adherence of the periodontopathic bacterium, B. gingivalis rather than to that of other oral bacteria including cariogenic bacteria.
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