Dental caries (decay) is caused by pathogenic bacterial species, which afflicts nearly a third of the world’s population from early childhood to old age. Treatment of tooth decay often involves the use of filling materials to restore the cavity; however, if untreated, it can cause pain, infection and eventually lead to tooth loss. Since the oral environment is colonised by many different microorganisms, bacterial biofilms can form on these filling materials, contributing to secondary caries that can eventually lead to the failure of the dental restoration. Thus, preventing the formation of bacterial biofilms is an important strategy in the management of caries, which has led to research enabling antimicrobial capabilities in dental materials. Materials and pharmaceutical sciences are in a continuous race against microbial resistance but are trying to balance between beneficial biota associated with the oral cavity, and, of course, avoiding a harmful effect on tissues is challenging. This has, therefore, stemmed a substantial interest in both preventive and restorative measures that would enable limiting the formation of secondary caries, oral microbial biofilms, and the retention of tooth mineral. Thus, innovative strategies are being explored and here we present a review with a focus on strategies that can inhibit or limit the formation of bacterial biofilms.
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