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Comparison of methods for monitoring changes in the pH of human dental plaque.

Authors
  • Schachtele, C F
  • Jensen, M E
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of dental research
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1982
Volume
61
Issue
10
Pages
1117–1125
Identifiers
PMID: 6749921
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Changes in human dental plaque pH can be used to obtain estimates of the acidogenic potential of ingested foods. The presence of acid in plaque is influenced by a large number of host, microbial, and substrate factors. Several useful methods have been developed for monitoring changes in plaque pH. Plaque sampling involves repeated removal of small samples of plaque from a number of teeth at intervals after food ingestion, dispersion of the sample, and in vitro measurement of pH. Touch electrode methods utilize glass or antimony microelectrodes, which are placed onto plaque in situ where direct readings can be obtained. Telemetry methods involve placement of glass microelectrodes or ion-sensitive field effect transistors within the dentition. Plaque is allowed to accumulate, and pH changes can subsequently be transmitted with radio or wire. Each of the methods has clear advantages and limitations. The methods have been simultaneously compared in human volunteers using solutions of fermentable carbohydrate. Inter-method differences in response were observed depending upon the site of measurement. Data obtained from caries-prone surfaces via telemetry showed lower pH minima and retarded returns to resting pH levels. The technology is available for controlled comparative plaque pH studies, with the method of choice depending upon the goals of the investigation. It is essential that the results be compared to data obtained with other models designed to evaluate the cariogenic potential of foods.

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