Evidence of an in vitro Coupled Diffusion Mechanism of Lesion Formation within Microcosm Dental Plaque

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the dual constant-depth film fermenter (dCDFF) is able to produce caries-like enamel lesions and to ascertain further information regarding the performance of this fully functional biological caries model. Conditions were defined by the continuation (CF) or cessation (FF) of a saliva-type growth medium supply during 50-mM sucrose exposures (8 times daily). Hydroxyapatite (n = 3) and bovine enamel (n = 3) substrata were included within each condition and samples extracted after 2, 4, 8, and 16 days. Community profiles were generated for fastidious anaerobes, Lactobacillus spp., Streptococcus spp., mutans streptococci (MS), and Veillonella spp. using selective culture techniques and enamel demineralisation assessed by transverse microradiography. Results demonstrated that the dCDFF model is able to produce caries-like enamel lesions with a high degree of sensitivity where reduced ionic strength within the FF condition increased surface layer mineral deposition. Between conditions, biofilm communities did not differ significantly, although MS in the biofilms extracted from the FF condition rose to a higher proportion (by 1.5 log10 units), and Veillonella spp. were initially greater within the CF condition (by 2.5 log10 units), indicating an enhanced ability for the clearance of low-pKa acids following exposures to sucrose. However, both conditions retained the ability for caries-like lesion formation.

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