This course is designed to review the biological basis for the concepts and treatment procedures of dental caries as an infectious disease.  It will review information on the initiation, progression, treatment and prevention of dental caries along with the therapeutic and restorative implications of treatment as an infectious disease.

Dental caries is defined as:
        -a bacterial infection caused by specific bacteria.
        -a reversible multifactorial process of tooth demineralization and remineralization.

The first point is that caries is a bacterial infection caused by specific bacteria.

In 1976 Loesch (Oral Sci Rev, 1976) postulated that dental caries is a specific and treatable bacterial infection due primarily to mutans streptococcus (ms) and in the later stages to lactobacillus.  Other acidogenic organisms are also involved, but these two appear to be the main organisms.

Since that time there has been extensive evidence in the literature using animal models that caries is a communicable, transmissible, infectious bacteria infection.

Clinical investigation on humans has supported the concept that ms is the primary responsible source and that it is transmitted from other humans.

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