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J Dent Res. 2019 Apr;98(4):373-385. doi: 10.1177/0022034519830686.

The Role of Bacterial Biofilms in Dental Caries and Periodontal and Peri-implant Diseases: A Historical Perspective.

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1 Institute of Microbiology, Department of Medical Microbiology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2 Department of Molecular Genetics, The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3 Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.


Over the last hundred years, groundbreaking research in oral microbiology has provided a broad and deep understanding about the oral microbiome, its interactions with our body, and how the community can affect our health, be protective, or lead to the development of dental diseases. During this exciting journey, hypotheses were proposed, and concepts were established, discarded, and later revisited from updated perspectives. Dental plaque, previously considered a polymicrobial community of unspecific pathogenicity, is recognized as microbial biofilms with healthy, cariogenic, or periodontopathogenic profiles, resulting from specific ecologic determinants and host factors. The "one pathogen, one disease" paradigm of oral infections has been replaced by a holistic concept of a microbial community as the entity of pathogenicity. Cutting-edge technology can now explore large microbial communities related to different clinical conditions, which has led to finding several novel disease-associated species and potential pathobionts and pathobiomes. This vast amount of data generated over time has widened our view of the etiology of caries and periodontal and peri-implant diseases and has promoted updated strategies to treat and prevent the oral diseases.


gingivitis; microbiota; peri-implantitis; periodontitis; plaque biofilms; tooth decay


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