Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Malevolent Designer News - Dental Caries!

With powerful microscopy, researchers were able to visualize the structure of a tooth decay-causing biofilm growing on toddlers’ teeth. The organism primarily responsible for cavities, Streptococcus mutans, labeled in green, shields itself under layers of other bacteria, enabling it stick stubbornly to the enamel.
Image credit: Dongyeop Kim
Cavity-causing bacteria assemble an army of protective microbes on human teeth | Penn Today

Next time your dentist tells you you need some work done to stop your teeth rotting away, or to prevent painful abscesses forming in your gums, you know who to thank for it.

According to creationists it was the work of a brilliant intelligent [sic] designer who designed the bacterium,Streptococcus mutans to create the caries. Scientists have now worked out how this brilliant design works, according to an open access paper published a couple of days ago in PNAS.

According to Penn Today, the University of Pennsylvania news magazine:

Streptococcus mutans, a major bacterial species responsible for tooth decay, is encased in a protective multilayered community of other bacteria and polymers forming a unique spatial organization associated with the location of the disease onset


[T]he researchers discovered that S. mutans in dental plaque most often appeared in a particular fashion: arranged in a mound against the tooth’s surface. But it wasn’t alone. While S. mutans formed the inner core of the rotund architecture, other commensal bacteria, such as S. oralis, formed additional outer layers precisely arranged in a crownlike structure. Supporting and separating these layers was an extracellular scaffold made of sugars produced by S. mutans, effectively encasing and protecting the disease-causing bacteria.

The research team from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the Georgia Institute of Technology used a combination of super-resolution confocal and scanning electron microscopy with computational analysis to dissect the arrangement of S. mutans and other microbes of the intact biofilm on the teeth. These techniques allowed the team to examine the biofilm layer by layer, gaining a three-dimensional picture of the specific architectures.

They found that these highly-organized mound-like structure precisely corresponded to the areas of decalcification, or 'white spots' that are the precursors of dental caries. Tests also showed that the colony of S. mutans was protected from antibiotics by the mound-like structure.

Dental caries remains an unresolved public health problem. The etiology is poorly understood, as the oral cavity harbors diverse communities of microorganisms. Using multiple imaging modalities on human teeth from patients with caries, we discovered a microbial community precisely arranged in a corona-like architecture. Moreover, this organization is mediated by the pathogen Streptococcus mutans through production of an extracellular scaffold that directs positioning of other oral microbes. We developed a methodology to quantify the spatial structure of microbial communities at the micron scale and found a precise spatial patterning of bacteria associated with localized caries onset. These findings are relevant as we approach the post-microbiome era, whereby quantifying the community structural organization may be essential for understanding microbiome function.

Tooth decay (dental caries) is a widespread human disease caused by microbial biofilms. Streptococcus mutans, a biofilm-former, has been consistently associated with severe childhood caries; however, how this bacterium is spatially organized with other microorganisms in the oral cavity to promote disease remains unknown. Using intact biofilms formed on teeth of toddlers affected by caries, we discovered a unique 3D rotund-shaped architecture composed of multiple species precisely arranged in a corona-like structure with an inner core of S. mutans encompassed by outer layers of other bacteria. This architecture creates localized regions of acidic pH and acute enamel demineralization (caries) in a mixed-species biofilm model on human teeth, suggesting this highly ordered community as the causative agent. Notably, the construction of this architecture was found to be an active process initiated by production of an extracellular scaffold by S. mutans that assembles the corona cell arrangement, encapsulating the pathogen core. In addition, this spatial patterning creates a protective barrier against antimicrobials while increasing bacterial acid fitness associated with the disease-causing state. Our data reveal a precise biogeography in a polymicrobial community associated with human caries that can modulate the pathogen positioning and virulence potential in situ, indicating that micron-scale spatial structure of the microbiome may mediate the function and outcome of host–pathogen interactions.

According to creationists, these complex, organized coperations can only be intelligently designed, so we have to assume that they believe their intelligent designer intentionally causes tooth decay and has gone to considerable lengths to ingeniously design S. mutans to give it this capability. They believe this designer is a loving god who wishes to minimise suffering in the world.

Next time you have toothache or need dental treatment for dental caries, remember, this is what creationists regard as minimal suffering inflicted by a loving god.

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