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Oral Biology and Dental Diseases

Oral diseases are complex pathologies, deriving from the intersection of different components: the oral microbial flora (microbiome), environmental and behavioral factors and life styles, the human genetic make-up (the genome), its transcription and translation (the transcriptome, the proteome, the metabolome, or metabonome and further levels).

Oral diseases are included in the list of major health problems that humans face, with periodontitis, dental caries, and oral candidiasis being among the most important yet preventable infectious diseases. Worldwide, 60%–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities, often leading to pain and discomfort. Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15%–20% of middle-aged (35–44 years) adults, and oral candidiasis affects almost 50% of the HIV-positive population. Oral care influences the general quality of life, and poor oral health can be linked to other systemic conditions. The impact that oral care has on a person has indicated the need for treatments. However, the concern of antibacterial agents includes the increasing resistance developed overtime by the associated bacteria to the antibiotic treatments as well as the adverse effects that some antibacterial agents have within the human oral cavity. Therefore, there is a need to develop alternative preventative options and treatments that are safe, effective, and economical for everyday use. The search for alternative products continues, and the discovery of natural phytochemicals isolated from plants used in traditional medicines has shown promising results.