Acquired Enamel Pellicle and Its Potential Role in Oral Diagnostics

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The acquired enamel pellicle (AEP) is a protein film with unique composition and properties, which is formed by the selective adsorption of a variety of oral fluid–derived proteins onto tooth enamel surfaces. Since events leading to caries and periodontal disease occur in close proximity to the tooth surface, pellicle constituents are likely to contain biomarkers valuable for diagnostic applications. Despite the importance of this oral structure, progress in understanding its formation and composition has been slow because of difficulties in efficient pellicle collection methods and limitations of biochemical techniques for the characterization of microgram amounts of proteins/peptides. Recent developments in both pellicle collection methods and nanoscale sensing technologies have brought the exploitation of pellicle analysis into the realm of point-of-care oral diagnostics.

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