Removal and prevention of dental plaque with d-tagatose

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2002 Aug;24(4):225-34. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-2494.2002.00141.x.


Dental plaque develops when early bacterial colonizers adhere to the acquired pellicle (saliva-derived proteinous coating on the tooth surface) followed by adhesion of late interspecies colonizers to form this type of biofilm (coaggregation). In developing a d-tagatose-based toothpaste, we examined 15 oral isolates, including both early colonizers (Streptococcus and Actinomyces) and late colonizers (Fusobacterium, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Veillonella, Capnocytophaga, and Actinobacillus), and tested them for their ability to coaggregate with each other. We then tested the ability of d-tagatose to reverse any such coaggregations. Coaggregation was examined visually and scored by using a system ranging from 0, for no visible coaggregation to 4, for maximum coaggregation. d-Tagatose, at a concentration of less than 750 mm, completely reversed the coaggregation of 17 (60%) of 28 strongly coaggregating pairs (coaggregation score = 2 or higher) tested. In contrast, d-sorbitol had little reversal effect. d-Tagatose-sensitive coaggregations were d-galactose-reversible as well. d-Tagatose acted on both early and late colonizers; both groups, especially the late colonizers, were frequently involved in periodontal diseases. Thus, d-tagatose has the potential for preventing and removing plaque development and for altering the subgingival microbiota. These effective qualities offer conservative control of gingival and periodontal disease.