Models and role models

J.M. ten Cate

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Developing experimental models to understand dental caries has been the theme in our research group. Our first, the pH-cycling model, was developed to investigate the chemical reactions in enamel or dentine, which lead to dental caries. It aimed to leverage our understanding of the fluoride mode of action and was also utilized for the formulation of oral care products. In addition, we made use of intra-oral (in situ) models to study other features of the oral environment that drive the de/remineralization balance in individual patients. This model addressed basic questions, such as how enamel and dentine are affected by challenges in the oral cavity, as well as practical issues related to fluoride toothpaste efficacy. The observation that perhaps fluoride is not sufficiently potent to reduce dental caries in the present-day society triggered us to expand our knowledge in the bacterial aetiology of dental caries. For this we developed the Amsterdam Active Attachment biofilm model. Different from studies on planktonic (‘single') bacteria, this biofilm model captures bacteria in a habitat similar to dental plaque. With data from the combination of these models, it should be possible to study separate processes which together may lead to dental caries. Also products and novel agents could be evaluated that interfere with either of the processes. Having these separate models in place, a suggestion is made to design computer models to encompass the available information. Models but also role models are of the utmost importance in bringing and guiding research and researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
JournalCaries Research
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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