Our current understanding of the cause of caries has changed to the extent that we need to design new ways to combat this disease. It is now known that caries is caused by oral biofilms rather than planktonic micororganisms. Biofilms that colonize the oral cavity are extremely complex in nature. Bacteria residing in biofilms have specific relationships with each other, exist in their own microenvironment, and express properties different from that in planktonic culture. Success in the prevention and management of caries depends on the effective management or disruption of this biofilm. The challenge is to understand the environmental conditions in which oral health intervention and products can be effective. The clinical management of caries in relation to recent findings about the behaviour of biofilms will be addressed in this lecture.
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