pH-Responsive Biomaterials for the Treatment of Dental Caries—A Focussed and Critical Review

Yanping He, Krasimir Vasilev, Peter Zilm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Dental caries is a common and costly multifactorial biofilm disease caused by cariogenic bacteria that ferment carbohydrates to lactic acid, demineralizing the inorganic component of teeth. Therefore, low pH (pH 4.5) is a characteristic signal of the localised carious environment, compared to a healthy oral pH range (6.8 to 7.4). The development of pH-responsive delivery systems that release antibacterial agents in response to low pH has gained attention as a targeted therapy for dental caries. Release is triggered by high levels of acidogenic species and their reduction may select for the establishment of health-associated biofilm communities. Moreover, drug efficacy can be amplified by the modification of the delivery system to target adhesion to the plaque biofilm to extend the retention time of antimicrobial agents in the oral cavity. In this review, recent developments of different pH-responsive nanocarriers and their biofilm targeting mechanisms are discussed. This review critically discusses the current state of the art and innovations in the development and use of smart delivery materials for dental caries treatment. The authors’ views for the future of the field are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1837
Number of pages22
Issue number7
Early online date27 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • dental caries
  • pH-responsive delivery systems
  • pH-responsive release mechanism
  • tooth-binding


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