Microbial Caries Research Facility

Studying how cavities get their start

The in vitro microbial caries models developed in the microbial caries research facility are used to study primary, secondary, and root caries. These models are also used extensively for studying the anticariogenic and/or antimicrobial properties of toothpastes, dental materials, foods, antimicrobial agents, and remineralizing agents.

In vitro microbial caries models for studying caries formation

These models are used in therapeutic and restorative dental materials development and testing. Our industrial clients need a reliable model that can predict the clinical behavior of caries in relation to various restorative materials and preventive regimens used by practicing dentists. Industries with therapeutic preventive products are in need of a reliable in vitro model that would allow investigation of the cause and prevention of primary and secondary dental caries, as well as dental plaque and bacterial metabolism.

Our models have the following characteristics:

  • Ease of sterilization of the different components
  • Ability to manipulate the model components under sterile conditions
  • Ease of access to test specimens
  • Reproducibility of experiments
  • Adequate simulation of the oral environment

Our in vitro microbial models developed to produce carious lesions for the investigation of the microbial etiology and prevention of dental caries can be used to study either primary or secondary caries (in enamel and root surfaces). These models can also be used to test complex biofilms and their effects and responses to different environmental conditions on the tooth structure.

These microbial models have been developed at the Indiana University School of Dentistry’s Oral Health Research Institute, one of the world’s best-known product testing sites. We have published data demonstrating the models’ value for predicting clinical efficacy. They can be used to study the microbial etiology and prevention of dental caries.

Advantages serving to validate these caries models include:

  • Significant relevance to observations in human oral environment
  • One investigator can conduct efficient and simultaneous studies with many variables: nutrients, fluoride solutions, bacterial populations, and antimicrobial agents
  • Easy sterilization and assembly process resulting in effective contamination prevention

Further information and data are available regarding other modified and defined laboratory models that can result in the evaluation of:

  • The impact of non-fluoride systems, including antimicrobial agents
  • The effect of fluoride on root-surface caries
  • The study of the relationship between biofilms and many preventive agents

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