Glossary

abrasive – A substance, such as silica, that is used for polishing or cleaning.

acidogenic – Something that produces acid, such as cariogenic bacteria.

anti-oxidant – A chemical compound or substance that inhibits oxidation.

astringency – A taste experience, often an after-taste, that causes the mouth to pucker.

bioavailability – The degree to which a drug or substance is available to the target tissue following administration.

calculus - calcified plaque – A hard yellowish deposit on the teeth, consisting of organic secretions and food particles deposited in various salts, such as calcium carbonate; also called tartar.

caries – A bacterial infection that results in demineralization, and ultimately the destruction, of tooth minerals.

cariogenic – Contributing to the production of caries.

cation – An ion with a positive charge.

chelate – Chemical compound that can form several non-covalent bonds to a single metal ion (e.g., Ca2+), sequestering it and preventing it from reacting with its surroundings.

covalent – In chemistry, a chemical bond formed by the sharing of one or more electrons, especially pairs of electrons, between atoms.

cytoplasmic – The cell substance located between the cell membrane and the nucleus of the cell.

demineralization – The chemical process by which tooth minerals are removed from the dental hard tissues: enamel, dentin and cementum. This process occurs through dissolution by acids or by chelation, and the rate of demineralization will vary due to the degree of supersaturation of the immediate environment of the tooth and the presence (or absence) of fluoride.

dental erosion – Localized loss of dental hard tissue that is chemically etched away from the tooth surface by acids or chelating agents. Can be referred to as Acid Erosion or Acid Wear. Teeth exhibiting signs of erosion lose their surface texture (perichymata), may appear more yellow, and have an altered shape.

dentinal hypersensitivity – A short, sharp pain arising from exposed dentin in response to stimuli which cannot be ascribed to any other form of dental defect or pathology. These stimuli are typically thermal, evaporative, tactile, osmotic or chemical.

dissociation – A general process in which ionic compounds separate or split into smaller particles, ions, or radicals, usually in a reversible manner.

enzyme – Protein that catalyzes, or facilitates, biochemical reactions.

enzymatic hydrolysis – A process in digestion in which macromolecules are split from food by the enzymatic addition of water.

epidemiological – Dealing with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population.

extrinsic stain – Tooth stain on the exterior surface of the tooth that can be removed through routine cleaning procedures. It is generally composed of dietary chromogenic molecules and metal ions which become bound within the salivary pellicle layer that coats exposed tooth surfaces.

fluorosis – An abnormal condition (such as mottling of the teeth) caused by an excessive intake of fluorine during the development period of the permanent teeth.

fluorohydroxyapatite – A crystal structure in tooth mineral (Ca10(PO4)6F2) resulting from the replacement of hydroxyl ions (OH-) in the hydroxyapatite structure with fluoride ions (F-). Fluorohydroxyapatite (also commonly referred to as fluorapatite or fluoroapatite) is stronger and more acid resistant than hydroxyapatite.

gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums that often manifests as bleeding during brushing and flossing; mildest form of periodontal disease that is reversible.

hydrolysis – A chemical reaction of a compound with water, generally resulting in the formation of one or more new compounds.

hydroxyapatite – A crystal structure (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) that forms the majority of the mineral make-up of tooth enamel and dentin.

ions – Atoms or molecules that carry either a positive or a negative electric charge in a solution. For example, sodium chloride (NaCl, common table salt) in water dissociates into Na+ and Cl– ions.

intrinsic stain – Staining caused by the presence of pigment within the enamel or dentine. Intrinsic stain can often be mediated through bleaching procedures.

meta-analysis – A statistical technique in which the results of two or more studies are mathematically combined in order to improve the reliability of the results. Studies chosen for inclusion in a meta-analysis must be sufficiently similar in a number of characteristics in order to accurately combine their results.

oxidation – The interaction between oxygen molecules and all of the different substances they may contact.

plaque – An organized community of many different microorganisms that forms itself into a biofilm and is found on the surface of the tongue and all hard surfaces in the oral cavity. Dental plaque is present in all people and can vary from being comprised of totally healthy microorganisms (commensals) to being very harmful (pathogenic), predisposing the patient to dental caries or periodontal diseases. Note: Dental plaque is not food debris, nor does it contain food debris. Dental plaque can only be completely removed by mechanical means, such as toothbrushing or prophylaxis.

phosphoenolpyruvate – An important chemical compound in biochemistry that is directly involved in glycolysis. It is also the primary source of energy for the phosphotransferase system.

phosphotransferase system – A method used by bacteria for sugar uptake where the source of energy is from phosphoenolpyruvate.

prevalence – The percentage of a population that is affected with a particular disease at a given time.

remineralization – The chemical process by which tooth minerals are replaced into the dental hard tissues: enamel, dentin and cementum. This process requires an environment that includes supersaturation with calcium and phosphate ions; it is enhanced in the presence of fluoride and the proper pH.

supersaturation – Containing an amount of a substance greater than that required for saturation.

systemic – Pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole.

tartar - calcified plaque – A hard yellowish deposit on the teeth, consisting of organic secretions and food particles deposited in various salts, such as calcium carbonate; also called calculus.