Oral health reflects the general health, and it is fundamental to well-being and quality of life. An infection in the oral cavity can be associated with serious complications in human health. Local therapy of these infections offers many advantages over systemic drug administration, targeting directly to the diseased area while minimizing systemic side effects. Specialized drug delivery systems into the oral cavity have to be designed in such a fashion that they resist to the aqueous environment that is constantly bathed in saliva and subject to mechanical forces. Additionally, a prolonged release of drug should also be provided, which would enhance the efficacy and also decrease the repeated dosing. This review is aimed to summarize the current most relevant findings related to local drug delivery of various drug groups for prevention and treatment of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal) and infection-related manifestations in the oral cavity. Current therapeutic challenges in regard to effective local drug delivery systems will be discussed, and the recent approaches to overcome these obstacles will be reviewed. Finally, future prospects will be overviewed to promote novel strategies that can be implemented in clinical management for prevention and treatment of oral infections.
Keywords: Fibers; Hydrogels; Nanoparticulate systems; New therapeutic agents; Oral infections; Strips; Topical drug delivery.