Lipids in Preventive Dentistry

Clin Oral Investig. 2013 Apr;17(3):669-85. doi: 10.1007/s00784-012-0835-9. Epub 2012 Sep 28.


Objectives: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility / drug effects
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility / physiology
  • Dental Pellicle / chemistry*
  • Dental Pellicle / drug effects
  • Gingivitis / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Lipids / pharmacology*
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Lipids / therapeutic use
  • Mouthwashes / chemistry
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use
  • Periodontitis / prevention & control*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Tooth Erosion / prevention & control


  • Lipids
  • Mouthwashes
  • Plant Oils