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Molecules 2011, 16(2), 1486-1507; doi:10.3390/molecules16021486

Plant Polyphenols and Their Anti-Cariogenic Properties: A Review

1,* , 1
1 Department of Paediatric Dentistry, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy 2 Department of Organic and Biological Chemistry, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy 3 Section of Plant Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, Napoli, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 November 2010 / Revised: 25 January 2011 / Accepted: 27 January 2011 / Published: 11 February 2011
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Polyphenols constitute one of the most common groups of substances in plants. Polyphenolic compounds have been reported to have a wide range of biological activities, many of which are related to their conventional antioxidant action; however, increasing scientific knowledge has highlighted their potential activity in preventing oral disease, including the prevention of tooth decay. The aim of this review is to show the emerging findings on the anti-cariogenic properties of polyphenols, which have been obtained from several in vitro studies investigating the effects of these bioactive molecules against Streptococcus mutans, as well as in vivo studies. The analysis of the literature supports the anti-bacterial role of polyphenols on cariogenic streptococci, suggesting (1) a direct effect against S. mutans; (2) an interaction with microbial membrane proteins inhibiting the adherence of bacterial cells to the tooth surface; and (3) the inhibition of glucosyl transferase and amylase. However, more studies, particularly in vivo and in situ, are necessary to establish conclusive evidence for the effectiveness and the clinical applications of these compounds in the prevention of dental caries. It is essential to better determine the nature and distribution of these compounds in our diet and to identify which of the hundreds of existing polyphenols are likely to provide the greatest effects.
Keywords: polyphenols; dental caries; anti-microbial action polyphenols; dental caries; anti-microbial action
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ferrazzano, G.F.; Amato, I.; Ingenito, A.; Zarrelli, A.; Pinto, G.; Pollio, A. Plant Polyphenols and Their Anti-Cariogenic Properties: A Review. Molecules 2011, 16, 1486-1507.

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