Investigations of biomaterial approaches in the prevention of streptococcus mutans-derived caries
Young, Jeffrey S.
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Dental caries is one of the oldest and most common infectious diseases in the history of humankind, dating back thousands of years. Although evidence for dental health and hygiene practice has been found throughout the ages, from primitive toothbrushes made out of animal bones and quills to today’s efforts in implementing public water fluoridation, caries rates have increased across all populations, correlated to changes in diets and the increase in sugar consumption. The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether or not if caries and biofilm formation can be reduced by low cost, wide audience treatment methods using biomaterials. One of these compounds, SDF, has demonstrated qualitative disruption of biofilms and reduced S. mutans cell count. Zerovalent bismuth when compared to its control has been found to reduce S. mutans growth by 69% as well as complete inhibition of biofilm formation. Ar-Ca was not only able to occlude dental tubules as a desensitizer, but also was effective in buffering low pH environments and reducing lactic acid production. Sealant and vaccine treatments are also evaluated for their efficacies in preventing caries development, but come with disadvantages that limit their use and distribution. Several designs of new biomaterials are proposed that may be applicable or used in the future of the field of dental medicine. One method is to improve upon sealants to incorporate antimicrobial properties into the composite resin. Another is to develop an anti-plaque varnish that would alter the surface properties of enamel using adsorption methods to decrease attachment of S. mutans. Lastly, plans for a salivary gland implant would alter saliva chemistries to buffer acidic environments produced by bacteria.
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