, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 227-239
Date: 13 Sep 2007

Antibacterials as anti-inflammatory agents: Dual action agents for oral health

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Abstract

Background Inflammatory processes with a range of specialized cells and biochemical mediators form a complex network of inter-related signal transducing pathways that relay information to preserve normal functions. Advances in molecular analyses of the information relay pathways for their constituents and principal ligands along with mechanisms utilized by the host for microbial recognition have stimulated interest in therapeutic agents with dual functionalities i.e. antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Aim This review examines clinically tested agents for oral health applications with both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects to include antibiotics, antimicrobials and phenolics. Results Bis-phenols such as triclosan, representing a unique dual functional therapeutic for routine oral hygiene, with its demonstrated clinical effects on inhibiting the dental plaque biofilm, reducing inflammation (gingivitis) and subsequent periodontitis is described. Cyclines, comprising another class of approved anti-inflammatory agents used at the patient level for oral health is discussed. Dual active agents in current clinical practice for systemic conditions are highlighted to summarize the clinical validity of dual function agents as an emerging therapeutic strategy. Conclusions Clinical studies demonstrate therapeutic benefits of agents with dual functionality with their effects on microorganisms and the concomitant host inflammatory response. Advances in microbial pathogenesis and resultant inflammation will facilitate progress in this emerging area poised to be a significant milestone for dental therapeutics