What is Streptococcus salivarius?

June 07, 2023 2 min read

What is Streptococcus salivarius?

Streptococcus salivarius is a Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic bacterium that is commonly found in the oral cavity, upper respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract of humans. It is considered as a commensal organism that plays an important role in maintaining oral and overall health. 

Here are some key points about Streptococcus salivarius:

  • Streptococcus salivarius is a member of the genus Streptococcus and is one of the most prevalent bacteria in the human oral cavity. It has a spherical or ovoid shape, appears in chains or pairs, and is non-motile.
  • One of the most significant features of Streptococcus salivarius is its ability to produce bacteriocins, which are antimicrobial peptides that can inhibit the growth of other bacteria in the oral cavity, including Streptococcus mutans, a major cause of dental caries.
  • Streptococcus salivarius has also been shown to have immunomodulatory properties. It can stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10 and TGF-β, and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β and TNF-α, thereby regulating the immune response and promoting oral health.
  • In addition to its role in oral health, Streptococcus salivarius has been studied for its potential therapeutic applications in other areas. For example, some strains have been found to produce bacteriocins that can inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium associated with gastric ulcers and stomach cancer.
  • Streptococcus salivarius is generally considered safe and is widely used as a probiotic in various products, including oral hygiene products, dietary supplements, and functional foods.

Overall, Streptococcus salivarius is a commensal bacterium that plays a vital role in maintaining oral health and has potential therapeutic applications in other areas. Its ability to produce bacteriocins and modulate the immune response makes it an attractive candidate for further research and development of probiotic products.


  1. Wescombe PA, Heng NC, Burton JP, et al. The diversity of bacteriocins in Gram-positive bacteria. In: Riley MA, Chavan MA, eds. Bacteriocins: Ecology and Evolution. Springer International Publishing; 2016:45-92. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-33449-4_3
  2. Tagg JR, Dierksen KP. Bacterial replacement therapy: adapting 'germ warfare' to infection prevention. Trends Biotechnol. 2003;21(5):217-223. doi:10.1016/S0167-7799(03)00084-6
  3. Kumar PS, Mason MR, Brooker MR, O'Brien K. Pyrosequencing reveals unique microbial signatures associated with healthy and failing dental implants. J Clin Periodontol. 2012;39(5):425-433. doi:10.1111/j.1600-051X.2012.01852.x
  4. Burton JP, Wescombe PA, Cadieux PA, et al. Beneficial microbes for oral health: time to harness the oral streptococci? Benef Microbes. 2013;4(1):89-97. doi:10.3920/BM2012.0047

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