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A Probiotic Approach to Caries Management

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The surgical approach has been the predominate mode of caries management for the past 150 years. Dentistry has, however, in recent years moved toward an antibiotic/antimicrobial model of disease management. This approach, however, raises serious questions: (1) do the antibiotic/antimicrobial agents (chlorhexidine, povidone iodine, fluoride, etc) kill all offending organisms?; (2) if so, do the agents preclude the re-entry of the same organisms from external sources?; and (3) if the agents do kill all the offending organisms, do any remaining pathogenic organisms have selective advantage in repopulating the tooth surfaces? To overcome the problems inherent in an antibiotic/antimicrobial approach, probiotic methods are currently under study as means of caries management. This paper discusses probiotic approaches, such as genetically modified Streptococcus mutans and targeted antimicrobials in the management of dental caries. Implications for this approach in the management of other diseases are also presented.
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Keywords: ANTIBIOTICS; ANTIMICROBIALS; DENTAL CARIES; PREVENTION; PROBIOTIC

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2006

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  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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