attaches to teeth using sticky polymers that it produces, eventually forming a biofilm, a protected surface-associated bacterial community that is encased in secreted materials, says Frenkel. As S. mutans
grows in the biofilm, it produces organic acids as metabolic byproducts that dissolve tooth enamel, which is the direct cause of cavities. "We focused on the effect of the salivary mucin, MUC5B on S. mutans
attachment and biofilm formation because these are two key steps necessary for cavities to form," says Frenkel.