Manipulation of dental plaque on tooth surfaces for caries prevention
Employing oral biofilms for caries prevention
Despite the widespread use of fluoride-containing caries-preventive agents, dental caries remains a global health problem, affecting almost half (44%) of the world population. Therefore, a high and continued need exists to develop innovative caries-preventive strategies.
Oral biofilms represent a crucial factor in caries development. Consequently, the development of new caries-preventive strategies has always focused on removal of oral biofilms. Recent research discovered that oral biofilms could actually enhance the remineralization efficacy of oral care products. This new finding underlines that the oral biofilm must not merely be regarded as the cause of caries but can also be employed for caries-prevention. So rather than removing oral biofilms, they need to be managed. In this newly established public-private partnership, Sunstar, Inspektor and ACTA dental research join forces to develop effective caries-preventive strategies that maximally benefit from the caries-prevention supportive properties of oral biofilms, using a new in vitro pH-cycling biofilm-model.
In this project the consortium will screen existing caries-preventive agents to select an agent that maximally benefits from the biofilms; investigate biofilm manipulative strategies to enhance these beneficial aspects of biofilms and combine the most promising biofilm manipulative strategies with the selected agent, aiming to achieve optimal caries-prevention efficacy.
The strategy developed in this project does not simply kill or remove the oral biofilm. Instead it will employ the biofilm and maintain or restore the healthy oral microbial ecology. The new state-of-the art biofilm-model developed in this project will be the first that allows investigation of the synergy between caries-preventive agents and oral biofilms. This will, for the first time, allow dental academic groups and the dental care industry to develop and assess caries-preventive agents that employ rather than remove oral biofilms.