The Microbiology and Pathology of Infection Control in Dentistry

  • Martin R. Fulford
  • Nikolai R. Stankiewicz
Part of the BDJ Clinician’s Guides book series (BDJCG)


Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, are ubiquitous and are widespread in the environment, both in the environment where we live and work and in and on our bodies. The human body is composed of about 1014 cells only about 10% of which are mammalian, the remainder are microbial. Only very small proportions of these microbes are parasitic and cause pathological changes in their hosts and thus cause disease. The extent or severity of disease will vary from microbe to microbe and is called virulence, and the ability of a microbe to cause disease is called pathogenicity. No infectious disease is invariably fatal as this is not in the interest of the microbes as they will rapidly run out of hosts to infect. They may, however, cause significant damage to the host and thus are able to spread to new hosts by a process of shedding. This can then lead to cross infection when this occurs in a medical/dental environment.

Further Reading

  1. World Health Organization (WHO):
  2. Nash A, Dalziel R, Fitzgerald J., Mims’ pathogenesis of infectious disease. London: Elsevier/Academic Press; 2015. ISBN: 9780123971883.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin R. Fulford
    • 1
  • Nikolai R. Stankiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.WedmoreUK
  2. 2.East LydfordUK

Personalised recommendations