Dental plaque is an archetypical biofilm composed of a complex microbial community. It is the aetiological agent for major dental diseases such as dental caries and periodontal disease. The clinical picture of these dental diseases is a net result of the cross-talk between the pathogenic dental plaque biofilm and the host tissue response. In the healthy state, both plaque biofilm and adjacent tissues maintain a delicate balance, establishing a harmonious relationship between the two. However, changes occur during the disease process that transform this ‘healthy’ dental plaque into a ‘pathogenic’ biofilm. Recent advances in molecular microbiology have improved the understanding of dental plaque biofilm and produced numerous clinical benefits. Therefore, it is imperative that clinicians keep abreast with these new developments in the field of dentistry. Better understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind dental diseases will facilitate the development of novel therapeutic strategies to establish a ‘healthy dental plaque biofilm’ by modulating both host and microbial factors. In this review, the present authors aim to summarise the current knowledge on dental plaque as a microbial biofilm and its properties in oral health and disease.
Keywords: dental plaque biofilm, health and disease, properties