Dental Caries: Its Aetiology, Pathogenesis and Scientific Approaches for Prevention



A.S.M. Giasuddin

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Al-Arab Medical University, Benghazi, S.P.L.A.J.

Garyounis Medical Journal Vol. 11, No. 1-2 . January 1988: 65-76


Dental caries (tooth decay) is an infectious multifactorial disease manifested by progressive destruction of enamel, den tine and cementum of tooth. Several approaches, have been made to develop effective prophylactic measures against tooth decay through prevention of forming, and destruction of dental plaque. Of the non-specific methods, fluoridation of diet or drinking water or both has received considerable attention and acceptance. Recent experiments with animal models (mice, rats, monkeys) strongly suggest that more effective and specific prophylaxis for dental caries is possible through immunization against the causative microorganisms, specially Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans). It has been shown that fluoridation followed by immunization with the vaccine developed by Giasuddin et al. (17) and Lehner et al. (34) leads to successful immune responses against S. mutans and confers complete protection against dental caries in monkeys. The phenomenon of heart cross- reactivity, either in vivo or in vitro, has not been observed over the long experimental period of 76 weeks. These findings have raised great hopes that effective, safe and acceptable human dental caries vaccine may not be too distant away.

Keywords: Dental Caries