Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 669–685 | Cite as

Lipids in preventive dentistry

  • A. KenscheEmail author
  • M. Reich
  • K. Kümmerer
  • M. Hannig
  • C. Hannig



There is still a great demand for the improvement of oral prophylaxis methods. One repeatedly described approach is rinsing with edible oils. The aim of the present review paper was to analyze the role of lipids in bioadhesion and preventive dentistry.

Materials and methods

Despite limited sound scientific data, extensive literature search was performed to illustrate possible effects of lipids in the oral cavity.


It is to be assumed that lipophilic components modulate the process of bioadhesion to the oral hard tissues as well as the composition and ultrastructure of the initial oral biofilm or the pellicle, respectively. Thereby, lipids could add hydrophobic characteristics to the tooth surface hampering bacterial colonization and eventually decreasing caries susceptibility. Also, a lipid-enriched pellicle might be more resistant in case of acid exposure and could therefore reduce the erosive mineral loss. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory effects on the oral soft tissues were described. However, there is only limited evidence for these beneficial impacts. Neither the lipid composition of saliva and pellicle nor the interactions of lipids with the initial oral biofilm and the pellicle layer have been investigated adequately until now.


Edible oils might qualify as mild supplements to conventional strategies for the prevention of caries, erosion, and periodontal diseases but further research is necessary.

Clinical relevance

Against the background of current scientific and empirical knowledge, edible oils might be used as oral hygiene supplements but a decisive benefit for the oral health status is questionable.


Lipids Oral cavity Pellicle Bioadhesion Erosion 



We would like to thank W. Hoth-Hannig for the excellent electron microscopic imaging and the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the support of the research project on “Lipids in the acquired pellicle”. (HA 5192/2–1; KU 1271/6–1).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Kensche
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Reich
    • 2
  • K. Kümmerer
    • 2
  • M. Hannig
    • 3
  • C. Hannig
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinic of Operative Dentistry, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav CarusTU DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Sustainable and Environmental ChemistryLeuphana University LüneburgLüneburgGermany
  3. 3.Clinic of Operative Dentistry, Periodontology and Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of MedicineSaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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